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Holiday movies, a roundup of News' reviews

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"Skyfall" starring Daniel Craig got 4 stars from Jeff Simon. Read his review here.

Jeff Simon proclaimed Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" a "visionary masterpiece." Read his review here.

Daniel Day-Lewis gives a great performance in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln." Read the review here.

Ben Affleck's real-life thriller "Argo" gets 3 and 1/2 stars. Read the review here.

"Rise of the Guardians" should make the kids happy. Read the review here.

 

Thursday Theater Roundup

 

"2012: End of the Road," through Dec. 2 in the Road Less Traveled Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Elston and Behrend have succeeded in their goals for '2012: End of the Road.' They wanted audiences to think and talk about this new and topical play. Done." --Ted Hadley

"33 Variations," through Dec. 2 in MusicalFare Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "[Moises] Kaufman imbues the potentially nap-worthy premise with the kind of smart and economical writing typically reserved for TV cop shows and Hollywood thrillers. Between interludes of the variations played beautifully by Kramer, we skip back and forth through time, from 18th century Vienna to our own troubled century, each time learning something new about the nature of creativity, genius and, perhaps especially, mediocrity." --Colin Dabkowski

Jaume Plensa talks about his new sculpture, 'Laura'

Sculpture installation2
Installers lower a slice of Spanish marble onto Jaume Plensa's new sculpture, "Laura," at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Derek Gee / The Buffalo News.

Yesterday, I caught up with the artist Jaume Plensa -- creator of the popular Crown Fountain installation in Chicago -- as he oversaw the installation of his new sculpture on the north side of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Here's what he had to say:

--Colin Dabkowski

'Figaro' comes to Amherst

I am of a mind to go Sunday at 2 p.m. to the Amherst Theatre to catch the screening of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" with Gerald Finley as the Count Almaviva.

Gerald Finley is tremendous. I loved his portrayal of Hans Sachs in the Glyndebourne performance of Wagner's "Die Meistersinger" which, hurrah, is now out on video.

He was great as Figaro in "The Marriage of Figaro"...

(I love that opening scene!) ...

... but he will be even better as the Count. The Count is the more attractive character. I've stopped fighting that idea and finally decided Mozart must have intended it that way, for whatever perverse reason.

Listen to that video at the top. The music is explosive and Finley makes it more so. He is a marvelous singer. He has a new Schumann recording out too, of Lieder. I can't wait to get to that.

Meanwhile, info on the screening here.

Live chat: Miers on Music at noon

Review video chat: Critics' Corner with Jeff Miers, Jeff Simon

Thursday Theater Roundup

 

"2012: End of the Road," through Dec. 2 in the Road Less Traveled Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Elston and Behrend have succeeded in their goals for '2012: End of the Road.' They wanted audiences to think and talk about this new and topical play. Done." --Ted Hadley

"33 Variations," through Dec. 2 in MusicalFare Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "[Moises] Kaufman imbues the potentially nap-worthy premise with the kind of smart and economical writing typically reserved for TV cop shows and Hollywood thrillers. Between interludes of the variations played beautifully by Kramer, we skip back and forth through time, from 18th century Vienna to our own troubled century, each time learning something new about the nature of creativity, genius and, perhaps especially, mediocrity." --Colin Dabkowski

 

"A Couple of Blaguards," through Nov. 18 in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Director Gordon McCall makes full use of his actors’ gifts for physical comedy and song. Both men’s voices are beautifully suited for Irish music and those interludes are lovely to listen to. In the audience, it was also clear that some of the sketches were more polished than others – some good, some even better, some wonderful – and the best assumption is that the show will age well over its three-week run." --Melinda Miller

'Earth's Daughters: The Next Generation' features Buffalo's leading younger women writers

Earth's Daughters, the Buffalo-based magazine founded in 1971 that is widely considered the oldest continuously published feminist literary periodical in North America, showcases the work of six of the Buffalo area's leading younger women poets and writers in "Earth's Daughters: The Next Generation," a benefit fundraising reading, reception, and silent auction to support the magazine tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Buffalo East, 1412 Main St., (near Utica St.) in Buffalo.  Admission is $10 to $20 (which includes a three issue subscription to the magazine).

The line-up of readers includes:

Marina Blitshteyn--the Russian-born Williamsville native, University at Buffalo graduate, recent Columbia University MFA and author of the poetry collection  "Russian For Lovers" published by Argos Books.

Robin Brox--a poet, book artist and teacher with degrees from UB and the University of Maine-Orono, who works a publicist  for Just Buffalo Literary Center and is author of the poetry collection "Sure Thing" published by BlazeVox Books.

Jennifer Campell--poet, professor of English at Erie Community College-North, and a member of Earth's Daughters collective, she is the author of "Driving Straight Through" published by Foothills Press.

Kim Chinquee--Green Bay, Wisconsin native who is professor of English at Buffalo State College and a leading figure in the genre of  flash fiction, she is the author of the acclaimed volumes "Oh Baby" (Ravenna Press) and "Pretty" (White Pine Press).

Sara Ries--poet, recent Chatham University MFA, and founder/host of Poetry and Dinner Night at the Woodlawn Diner, her debut collection of poems "Come In, We're Open" was the 2010 winner of Stevens Manuscript Competition of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and published by NFSPS Press.

Janna Willoughby-Lohr--poet, graphic designer, spoken word artist (also known as MC Vendetta), co-organizer of the Buffalo Infringement Festival and a second generation member of Earth’s Daughters publishing collective, she is also a vocalist for the funk/hip-hop band The Bloodthirsty Vegans.

In addition to the readings, the event will also feature and a short narrative/dance performance by Sophia Roberts followed by music by The Blood Thirsty Vegans.

--R.D. Pohl

Video: '2012: End of the Road' on stage at RLTP

Local playwright Jon Elston's take on the Mayan apocalypse is on the Road Less Traveled stage through Dec. 2. Director Scott Behrend explains the production.

Video: Reflections on artist Catherine Parker

Catherine Burchfield Parker, the popular local watercolorist and collaborative artist died Tuesday morning at her residence in Paso Robles, Calif. She was 85. Read her full obituary.

Parker's deep love for classical music led her to collaborate with Roland Martin and Janz Castelo, her close friends who remember the watercolorist in this conversation with News Arts Critic Colin Dabkowski. Read Dabkowski's column in today's Gusto Extra.

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