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Big Time Rush, Victoria Justice head to Darien

Get ready for a "Summer Break" with Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice.

The popular stars from Nickelodeon television are touring together and returning to the area for a concert at 6:30 p.m. July 28 at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Tickets go on sale at noon April 6 and will cost $45 and $65 for reserved seats and $22.50 for the lawn. A lawn four-pack will be available for $68. Tickets will be sold through, and by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Live chat: Miers on Music at noon

Brad Paisley added to Darien lineup

Country superstar Brad Paisley is the latest name to be added to the growing summer concert lineup at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Paisley brings his "Beat the Summer" tour to the Darien Lake P.A.C. for a show at 7 p.m. July 12. Also on the bill are Chris Young, Lee Brice and the Henningsens.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. April 5 and will cost $45.50 and $65.50 reserved seating and $30.50 lawn. A lawn four-pack is $94. Tickets are available through, and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

GustoTV: Miers talks Brubeck with local jazz greats

Renowned jazz pianist George Caldwell will celebrate the music of the late Dave Brubeck with a special engagement Wednesday in the Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.). Caldwell and his quintet – Tim Clarke on trumpet, Cameron Kayne on contrabass and Darryl Washington on drums – will be joined by revered saxophonist Bobby Militello for the show. In addition to his own considerable work as a bandleader, Militello was Brubeck’s touring saxophonist and flutist from 1983 until the jazz giant’s death in December.

Much of the program will concentrate on tunes most commonly associated with Brubeck – among them, of course, the Paul Desmond chart “Take Five,” as well as Brubeck compositions like “Blue Rondo a la Turk” and “In Your Own Special Way.” Caldwell will also lead the group through a number of his own compositions and individualized arrangements of jazz standards.

The show boasts an early start time – 7 p.m. sharp – and will run until 9 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door.

In this video, GustoTV heads over to Jeff Miers' house where our pop music critic discusses Brubeck's life and music with Militello and Caldwell, who also perform a couple Brubeck tunes:

And News Arts Critic Colin Dabkowski has a roundup of what's new this week in movies, theater, art, music and dining:

UPDATE: Buffalo releases long-delayed arts funding application

The City of Buffalo, under pressure from arts organizations to deliver on its promise of funding for cultural and anti-violence groups, released its long-delayed funding application this week. The city has given groups until April 5 to apply for the funding. Here's a copy of the application, which lays out the city's requirements for applicants. 

According to Arts Services Initiative Executive Director Tod A. Kniazuk, the city did not send the application out to all eligible organziations. Kniazuk also said that the city will not employ the inordinately useful Cultural Data Project, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts specifically designed for situations like the current funding delay at City Hall and to depoliticize the cultural funding process.

ASI is sending the application out to all eligible groups today.

"So, there you have it," Kniazuk wrote in an email. "A two week turnaround for the organizations who were lucky enough to find out about it."

Continue reading "UPDATE: Buffalo releases long-delayed arts funding application" »

Thursday Theater Roundup

"Being Behan," through April 14 in the Irish Classical Theatre Company's Andrews Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "It is a treat to witness this production, another full-circle collaboration that celebrates the connectedness between two sets of two brothers, and two countries, that are joined, every few years or so, on the stage. What a view." --Ben Siegel


Michael Blasdell, Luther Nelson, Maria Droz and Jimmy Janowski star in Buffalo United Artists "L'Imitation of Life."

"L'Imitation of Life," through April 6 in the Buffalo United Artists Theatre. ★★★★

From the review: "The latest Janowski-Warfield camp-tasia is perhaps the greatest achievement in the eye-roll-inducing, pun-laden, innuendo-ridden brand of camp that BUA and Janowski have been honing for much of the past two decades. I don’t think there was a two-second stretch during the entire production during which the sold-out opening night crowd did not sound like a particularly exasperated Hollywood laugh track." --Colin Dabkowski

Continue reading "Thursday Theater Roundup" »

'Being Behan' now playing at Irish Classical

By Colin Dabkowski

News Arts Critic

In Ireland, the name of Brendan Behan still conjures up a foggy image of the larger-than-life personality who commanded the attention of that country’s literary establishment before drinking himself to death at the age of 41.

On this side of the Atlantic, though, the name registers only with those who have happened across his more famous works. These are “The Hostage,” a play that revolves around the approaching execution of a teen member of the Irish Republican Army, produced last season by the Irish Classical Theatre Company, and “Borstal Boy,” Behan’s autobiographical book about the time he spent with British prisoners in a juvenile detention center.

For Vincent O’Neill, the co-founder and artistic director of the Irish Classical Theatre Company, now seemed like as good a time as any to bring Behan and his work back before American eyes. Last week, the Irish Classical opened its production of “Being Behan,” a three-hander by Jim Sheridan that explores the life and work of a man who often described himself as “a drinker with a writing problem.”

O’Neill invited Dublin playwright, author, screenwriter and director Peter Sheridan, Jim’s brother, to direct the play, which was originally written as a vehicle for O’Neill’s late brother Chris and actor Johnny Murphy.

Continue reading "'Being Behan' now playing at Irish Classical" »

John Mayer to play Darien Lake Aug. 13

John Mayer performs during Tiger Jam, Saturday, April 30, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP file photo/Julie Jacobson)

Another day, another big name musical star announces he will be coming to Darien Lake this summer.

John Mayer, on his "Born & Raised Tour 2013," will make a stop at the Performing Arts Center on Aug. 13.

The show will include special guest Phillip Phillips.

The Grammy-winning Mayer has had a raft of hits in the past 10 years, including "No Such Thing," "Waiting on the World to Change" and "Daughters."

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday through Ticketmaster outlets. Ticket prices range from $36 for lawn seats; $99 for a four-pack of lawn tickets; $55 and $75 for reserved seats.

Amy King and the poetics of not playing it safe

If one literary response to the 21st century cultural dislocation rooted in big data and its disruptive technologies is a "conceptual" poetics that brands itself as "uncreative writing" and sees its principal mission in terms of a kind of low-level guerilla warfare against intellectual property rights, then another, perhaps more demonstrative poetics would be one that is no less analytical in its approach to language and power, but identifies itself as an active force of resistance, a non-algorithm in the prison-house of language.

That latter approach approximates the activist poetics of Amy King, who is the featured reader of Just Buffalo Literary Center's "Big Night" event this evening at 8 p.m. at the Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St. (near Mohawk St.) in Buffalo.

Among her generation of poet-critic activists and educators, King's work stands out as perhaps the most self-reflexively lyrical and linguistically hypertropic of the group: a poetry that grows out the critique of meaning, reference, and the literary subject implicit in "language" writing, yet still retains much of the grammatical immediacy of confessional poetry, along with the idiomatic fluency of the New York School.

Continue reading "Amy King and the poetics of not playing it safe" »

Library of Congress announces 2013 inductees for National Recording Registry

There are now 375 recordings in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. They run the gamut from turn of the century vaudeville ditties to mind-melting jazz performances. And with the announcement of this year's list, they also now include the biggest selling disco album of all time. Talk about covering all your bases.

The big news for fans of popular music is the announcement that Simon & Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence," the Bee Gees' "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, Big Brother & the Holding Company's "Cheap Thrills," the Wild Tchoupitoulas self-titled debut, the Ramones' first album, and Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" will all join the list of "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" recordings housed in the Registry.

 It would be difficult to argue against the inclusion of any of these albums. However, I would suggest that Radiohead's "OK Computer," Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Braodway," and at least one Frank Zappa album belong in there, too.

Continue reading "Library of Congress announces 2013 inductees for National Recording Registry" »

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