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Infringement Daily Planner: Day 3

A print by Anne Muntges on view during the Buffalo Book Fest on Saturday at the Western New York Book Arts Center.

There's no denying it now -- Infringement has kicked into high gear. Here are today's five best bets (about which I make no promises, and of which you should all feel free to dispute or ignore):

• The first Buffalo Book Fest, an event in which you can actually have you own print made with an actual steamroller, gets going at the Western New York Book Arts Center at 10 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. Check this out for more.

• How many times during the year will you have an excuse to visit the rooftop of the Broadway Market? I'm guessing not too many, which is why you oughtta head to the Buffablog Broadway Market Rooftop Extravaganza, which starts at 1 and features performances by some of the best-named bands in all Infringement land: Victory for Poland, Sleepy Hahas, The Merchants, Handsome Jack and local favorite The Albrights.

• I have no idea what the Triastedeit Theatre is, but I enjoy the work of Václav Havel, the accomplished essayist and playwright and former Czech president who died late last year. The company performs his one-act play "Audience" at 5 p.m. in Westside Stories at 205 Grant St.

• I could not in good conscience go a year without recommending a performance by master puppeteer Michele Costa, the gifted performer whose lovely and often sad vignettes on life in the city instantly transport the viewer to strange and enchanting places. This year, Costa performs her new story "symphony," the first performance of which takes place at 5 today in the sweaty back room of Rust Belt Books.

• There is probably no better way to end your day than by checking out the "Wham Bam Thank You Slam Part Deux," a jam-packed collection of poetry (slam and otherwise), burlesque performances and, as the kids say, sick beats. That starts at Nietzsche's at 9 p.m. and runs until 3 a.m.

--Colin Dabkowski

Wandering the Infringement outposts

Tonight there's plenty of action happening in the Infringement Festival's non-Allentown outposts (not to say Allentown itself isn't hopping like mad with Infringement activities), including Main (St)udios, The Vault, Wasteland Studios and Filigree's. After checking out the very cool, extremely funny "Reader's Theater" at Burning Books, I took a short tour of the first three of those venues. Here a little of what I saw:

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Above, artist Tara Sasiadek paints the face of Nicole Kujawski outside Main (St)udios, where a small crowd was gathered as the evening's art opening wound down. This space is also the site of a recently completed mural that's been turning heads in the up-and-coming neighborhood on Main Street.

After that I headed to Wasteland Studios, where I encountered this magnificent piece of homemade couture...

Continue reading "Wandering the Infringement outposts" »

'Reader's Theatre' at Burning Books

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Josh Pacino from The Honesty Theatre performs as Ulysses Penniworth in "Reader's Theater" in Burning Books on July 27, 2012 as part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival.

The Infringement Festival has its roots in theater, and this year's festival features any number of short, one-off theater performances by little known troupes and individuals. The Honesty Theatre, about which I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more in the near future, recently relocated to Buffalo from Batavia. I just took in its first local performance at Burning Books (a radical bookstore and reading room on Connecticut Street that is well worth checking out on its own), a presentation of a short piece called "Reader's Theater."

When actor Joseph Mallison, as one Nigel Cunningham, announced that the piece would consist of readings from overlooked works of literature, delivered in "almost inexcusably delicious stentorian tones," I was intrigued. When he pulled out the diary of one 13-year-old Jessica Townsend and began reading dramatic interpretations of her teenage angst, I was hooked. The totally tongue-in-cheek affair went on to include readings from a hilariously anachronistic '60s manual on how women should conduct themselves and excerpts from actual Craigslist personal ads. I shot a little clip, which doesn't exactly give you a sense of how well this stuff is written (as a kind of pastiche of Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward), but it's worth watching regardless:

This was for sure one of the funniest bits of theater I've seen on any stage locally this year. Sadly, it won't be performed again during the festival, but you can catch The Honesty Theater, founded by Heather Rae Ackerman, on Aug. 24 at Buffalo East (1410 Main St.) performing their original piece "Games." Which I highly suggest you do.

--Colin Dabkowski

'A Midsummer Night's Dream' opening rained out

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Actors rehearse "A Midsummer Night's Dream" for Shakespeare in Delaware Park on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Photo by Nick Agro / Buffalo News.

Last night's opening performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Delaware Park made it through two full acts before mother nature intervened at intermission, dropping enough rain on the stage to put the kabosh on the final two acts. Here's hoping tonight's performance fares better.

--Colin Dabkowski

Infringement Daily Planner: Day 2

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Isaac Johnson, Neil Coletta, and Tyler Brown play a game during January's "Improvising Consciousness Medicine Show." The symposium on human consciousness returns from July 27 to Aug. 1, 2012 in the Manny Fried Playhouse and Burning Books.

Today is the second of 11 days of Infringement. If you've recovered from last evening's boisterous opening ceremonies in Nietzsche's, here are a few tips for what to catch today:

• At 6 p.m. in the Manny Fried Theatre, the University at Buffalo's Intermedia Performance Studio presents its "Improvising Consciousness Medicine Show." The first one of these strange mashups of brain theory, gaming and interactive theater went down in January. And this one, according to a release, will be "aided by a real alien intelligence and autonomous robots" and challenge audiences "to uncover the secret future of their own minds."

•Poetry is always a big part of Infringement, and this year one of the highlights is sure to be Molly Burhans' performance of her original poetic epic "Peach Tree Galaxy." I caught some of that at the Infringement preview earlier this month, and you can see it in this video I shot. But better yet, head out to SP@CE 224 at 6:30 p.m. today to see Burhans do her thing in person. And if you miss it, no worries, because she'll be giving another performance at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday in Burning Books.

•This suggestion is three-in-one, just because each seems like a must-attend event. Art openings featuring live music and all sorts of interdisciplinary events will consume the city tonight in these three way cool off-the-beaten-track art spaces: Filigree's, featuring comics and more by Sal Sciandra and performances from Quest for Friends, Monoculture and The Tins; Main (St)udios, featuring 20 Fingerprints, Chow Monstro/Chow Art, Living Art, Como Agua and lots more; and Wasteland Studios, an awesome art space with a head-spinning variety of art by many local underground artists, including signs from the Occupy Buffalo movement. 

• In the first of several Infringement performances, local fire-dancing troupe Pyromance presents its show "A Buffalo Pyromance" in Days park starting at 9 p.m. Checking out the troupe is always a fine way to wind down from a busy day of Infringement -- or in the case of tonight's performance, warming up for a trip to Nietzsche's for the:

• 2012 Infringement Pirate Parrrty, a costume-themed affair featuring a half-dozen or so bands, including Ginger James, Sparky Sings a Song, RONALDRAYGUN, Chester Copperpot and Randle and the Late Night Scandals. That gets going at 10 p.m. and runs till the wee hours. Costumes get you $2 off the $5 cover.

--Colin Dabkowski

Pete Sorkin at Cafe Taza

First-time Infringement performer and blues musician Peter Sorkin first caught my attention during the Infringement Festival preview event at Merge earlier this month. Here he is at Cafe Taza tongue-in-cheekly introducing and playing his song "The Residential Treatment Facility Blues": 

 --Colin Dabkowski

New mural at 515 Main Street complete

Here's a zoomable image of the completed mural by Chuckt Tingley, OGRE and Max Collins at Main Street Studios, which I wrote about a couple weeks ago in my Sunday column. Thanks to Tingley for the image:

--Colin Dabkowski

An Infringement mascot on Elmwood

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I spotted this very cool Infringement sculpture (presumably based on this year's official Infringement artwork by Dan Zeis) this afternoon outside the Infringement venue El Buen Amigo. Next to the sculpture are El Buen Amigo founder Santiago Masferer, right, and a friend.

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--Colin Dabkowski

Let the Infringement begin

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Shea Akers of Pyromance does her thing in Days Park during last year's Infringement Festival. Photo by Dave Pape.

Today marks the first day of the 2012 Buffalo Infringement Festival, an 11-day, city-consuming carvnival of weird that includes just about every type of cultural activity imaginable. Wading through the fest's 800 performances, 144 music acts, 76 multidisciplinary shows, 78 visual art exhibitions and 14 films -- all listed on the festival website -- can be daunting, to say the least.

So each morning until the last day of the festival on Aug. 5, check in here for my own personal recommendations (sometimes based on past experience, sometimes on advance word, and sometimes on total guesswork) of five Infringey activities to check out during the day. Keep in mind that half the fun of Infringement is wandering around Allentown and into events that no one told you would be especially promising, but which wind up blowing your mind. Do feel free to ignore these suggestions if you are so inclined, or to leave comments in the blog about things you've seen, liked or recommend.

Also make sure to bookmark The Gusto Blog and to check back regularly for photos, videos, interviews, mini-reviews and other content of an Infringement-tinged nature throughout the festival.

I'll post today's five picks below. Happy Infringement everyone!

•Thing number one on any Infringer's schedule, whether newbie or veteran, oughtta be tonight's Opening Ceremonies at Nietzsche's, a venue that is more or less the nerve center of the festival. The evening will feature performances by a dozen or so troupes and/or bands, ranging from the Wham Bam Poetry Troupe and the Buffalo Burlesque Collective to rock/hip-hop act Lazy Ass Destroyer and "new wave electro dance rock" outfit Quest for Friends. If you can't find something you like at this party, which gets goin' at 8 p.m., you might as well quit while you're ahead.

Peter Sorkin, a Dylanesque blues guitar player who recently moved to Buffalo to work as a community organizer, turned in an awesome bite-sized performance during the Infringement preview event at Merge. See him play in the video I put together here. Luckily, Sorkin plays on a lot of dates and in a lot of places during this year's festival, the first of which is tonight at 5 p.m. at Cafe Taza, the pint-sized coffee shop and artsy hangout on Elmwood Avenue near Allen Street.

•"Incident at Deer Lick," a touching, pitch-perfect performance of a short story written and delivered in the style of Mark Twain by the inimitable Franklin LaVoie, has popped up at Infringement before (I wrote about it two years ago) and is an inarguable must-see. Head to the Crane Library at 7 tonight to check out the first performance, or see the Infringement site for the remaining four, through Aug. 4.

•Sketch-comedy duo Todd Benzin and Don Gervasi are -- I can vouch for this personally -- always good for a minimum of three guaranteed, genuine belly laughs. Their suggestion-driven act Babushka!, an Infringement spin-off of their successful comedy troupe Eclectic Improv has been a festival staple for years. The first of its many 2012 performances takes place tonight at 8 in Burning Books, the radical reading room on rapidly reviving Connecticut Street.

•Can't make it to the fest today? That's cool, because Buffalo State's radio station, 91.3 FM WBNY, is hosting a whole slew of bands throughout the day from 7 p.m. all the way through to 2:30 a.m. This is an excellent chance to check out some new local music, including Final Conspiracy, Alex Berkley, Erin Sydney Welsh, Drooka, Keith Michaud, Autoverse, ZFX and Kari Jo's Nightmare.

Please feel free to drop your own suggestions in the comments section, and Happy Infringement one and all.

--Colin Dabkowski

WYRK Fall Acoustic Show announced

Josh Thompson, Randy Houser and Andy Gibson will perform in the WYRK Fall Acoustic Show at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, North Campus. Amherst.

Tickets are $25 and go on sale at 10 a.m. July 27 through the box office and online at www.WYRK.com.

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