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This weekend: 'Chroma,' Sarah Myers and Art Alive

It is, as usual, an extraordinarily busy weekend for art in Buffalo. Here are a three events/exhibitions I didn't have a chance to fit into Gusto this week:

A piece by Adam Weekley is on view on "Chroma" at 464 Gallery.

"Chroma," opening at 6 p.m. today at 464 Gallery on Amherst Street, is timed to coincide with Buffalo's annual Pride celebration and features work by several Western New York artists who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer. The show includes pieces by Brian Dickenson, Mickey Harmon, Tommy Nguyensmith, Alexandra Spaulding, CJ Szatkowski, Adam Weekley, 464 owner Marcus L. Wise and others. It runs through June 5.


"Righting on Copper," an exhibition featuring work by the prolific and protean Buffalo painter Sarah Myers, will officially open a new art space on Grant Street. The exhibition space was established by the ambitious community activist group PUSH Buffalo in its headquarters (known simply as "The Center") at 271 Grant St.
Addison Richmond and Katie Sheffield re-create Claude Monet’s "Le bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie verte (The Water Lily Pond, Green Harmony)," an 1899 painting from the collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris during Art Alive 2012. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

Art Alive, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's annual competition featuring teams of students and adults re-creating famous works of art from the gallery's collection and elsewhere, takes place on Saturday from 12 to 2 p.m. on the gallery grounds.

--Colin Dabkowski

Live chat at noon: Miers on Music with The News' pop music critic

Gusto's Summer Concert Guide

By month:
June | July | August | September

By venue:
Artpark | Bear's Den, Seneca Niagara Casino | Braun's Concert Cove | Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf | Coca-Cola Field | Chautauqua Institute | Darien Lake Performing Arts Center | Erie County Fair | Gratwick Riverside Park, North Tonawanda | First Niagara Center | Holiday Valley, Ellicottville | Labatt Canal Concert Series | Riviera Theatre | Seneca Allegany Events Center, Salamanca | Seneca Events Center, Seneca Niagara Casino

*Free (Note: Paid fair admission needed for free concerts at the Erie County Fair).

Continue reading "Gusto's Summer Concert Guide" »

The Continuing Triumph of June in Buffalo

"June in Buffalo, Morty?"

That was John Cage, at the very first of the extraordinary State University of New York at Buffalo Festivals publicly chiding and teasing his old friend Morton Feldman for supposed pretentiousness. They were together talking to music students about whatever might be on their minds.

 What Feldman had done in creating the summertime New Music festival is still one of the highlights of Buffalo's annual music season today. What Feldman was creating was, in fact, intended to be an annual New Music festival like the famous festival in Darmstadt, Germany. Many would say it has long since passed it.

But the very name "June in Buffalo" couldn't possibly be more typically Feldman. It's from the same style of generic matter-of-factness that characterizes so many of Feldman's titles for his works: "Violin and String Quartet," "Piano and Orchestra," "Five Pianos," "Violin and Orchestra" (which is about to be released in two weeks in a rather brilliant new recording on the ECM label.)

Ever since the festival began 38 years ago, it has done--brilliantly--what Feldman envisioned it doing: drawing the cream of New Music composers and performers to Buffalo to perform and interact with advanced State University at Buffalo music students.

Nothing could be more appropriate than beginning this year's festival with the performance of a work by Morton Feldman, the festival's creator and early guiding light (until his tragically early death in 1986). Tonight's concers --which expects to sell out--will begin at 7 p.m. in a most unlikely but rather wonderfully Buffalonian venue, at One M&T Plaza, more familiar as a home to downtown pop music affairs. What will be performed will be the entirety of Feldman's "String Quartet No. 1" in performance by festival resident musicians the JACK Quartet. (RSVP's are recommended at 716-645-0624.)

Tomorrow's concert will include performances of Iannis Xenakis' "Kottos for Solo Cello," Roger Reynolds' "imAge/E and imagE/E," Edgar Varese's haunting solo flute piece "Density 21.5" arranged for Theremin Cello by Jonothan Golove, Elliott Carter's Sonata for Cello and Piano, selections from Gyorgi Ligeti's "Etudes" and the world premiere of Eric Wubbel's new work "Psychomechanochronometer" which was commissioned with support from the Mikhashoff Trust for New Music. Soloists for the concert will be pianist Eric Huebner, cellist and Theremin cellist Jonathan Golove. The concert will take place at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow in Slee Hall at the State University at Buffalo.

Saturday's Slee Hall concert will feature the Talujon Ensemble performing Brian Ferneyhough's "Fanfare for Klaus Huber," Charles Wuorinen's "Marimba Variations," Marc Mellits' "Gravity," Ross Bauer's "Echometry" and Xenakis' "Okho."

The finale of the festival June 9 at 2:30 p.m. will feature solo pianist Geoffrey Burleson and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta. It too will take place in Slee Hall.

--Jeff Simon


Review video: Critics' Corner with Simon & Miers

Bon Jovi returns

Bon Jovi fans get a chance for a second dose of their favorite rockers when the band returns to Western New York for An Evening With Bon Jovi at 7:30 p.m. July 23 in the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $65, $95, $125 and $175 reserved seating and $35 lawn (with $99 lawn four-packs) and go on sale at 10 a.m. June 10 through, or charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Live video chat at 1 p.m.: Critics' Corner with Simon & Miers

Watch a replay of this week's episode here.

Guns 'n' Roses kick off Outer Harbor concert season with massive spectacle

Guns n roses

 The Axl, not the wheels...
 Guns n’ Roses kicks off Outer Harbor Summer Concert Series on Wednesday with first area show in more than 20 years
 Guns N’ Roses has been a band plagued by controversy and internal dissent from the beginning, but one constant in the group’s tenure has been virtuoso hard-rock guitar playing.
 Of course, the GN’R that the world initially fell in love with in the late ’80s was all about guitarist Slash, whose killer tone, attitude-infused solos, and in-your-face riffs defined the GN’R sound for so many. Slash has been gone for a long time, and he’s not at all likely to return, so alienated from vocalist and current band leader Axl Rose has he become over the years. But the line of supreme guitar playing in the ranks has remained unbroken, with the mysterious shredmaster Buckethead having served a stint under Rose’s rule around the time of the “Chinese Democracy” release.
 Now, the jaw-droppingly intense and highly inventive Bumblefoot (Ron Thal to his mom) is handling the primary six-string duties in the GN’R lineup. Bumblefoot – and you should check YouTube for some examples of his prowess, if you are unfamiliar with him – will be flanked by former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson, as well as guitarists Richard Fortus and Dizzy Reed when Guns N’Roses arrives for a show at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Outer Harbor concert site.
 This will be the first Guns N’ Roses show in Western New York in more than 20 years. Tickets are $43 advance (Town Ballroom box office, Ticketmaster).
– Jeff Miers

Friday's Billy Currington show at the Rapids Theatre has been cancelled

The Billy Currington show scheduled to take place at the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls on Friday  has been cancelled, according to the event's promoters. Ticket refunds are available at point of purchase. 


Thursday Theater Roundup

Michael Seitz and Matthew Crehan Higgins star in Buffalo United Artists' production of "The Normal Heart." Photo by Robert Kirkham / The Buffalo News.

"The Normal Heart," through June 8 in Buffalo United Artists Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "A compelling production of the 1985 play, directed by Javier Bustillos, opened Friday night in the Buffalo United Artists Theatre, serving as a chilling reminder of that shameful period in American history for those who lived through it and a shocking primer on latent human cruelty for those who didn’t." --Colin Dabkowski

The cast of "Breath, Boom" at Ujima Theatre.

"Breath, Boom," through June 2 in TheatreLoft in a Ujima Theatre production. ★★★½

From the review: "“Boom,” all about the cycle of violence in black neighborhoods – friends, foes and family alike – is a dozen years old now and still disturbs." --Ted Hadley


Michael Zito, left, and Christopher Quinn star in Theatre of Youth's production of "Flat Stanley."

"The Adventures of Flat Stanley," through June 2 in Theatre of Youth's Allendale Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Never mind that they barely appear concerned about their son’s desire to fly away, nor even anxious for his eventual return. But where Stanley’s plea for meaning in this obnoxiously pleasant existence is concerned, he might consider a quest more down to earth." --Ben Siegel

"God of Isaac," through June 2 in the Jewish Repertory Theatre's Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Now the {JRT] hit streak continues at the versatile yet intimate Maxine and Robert Seller Theatre with James Sherman’s comedy – albeit one with thoughtful, often serious, undercurrents – “The God of Isaac,” a little charmer of a play that has you hooked from its early minutes. In the late going, a whiff of preachiness appears and is forgiven. Like the man said. Shalom." --Ted Hadley

"Two Weeks Until the Rest of My Life," through June 2 in the Paul Robeson Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "This “Two Weeks” is a step beyond a “work in progress.” But, it could use some tweaking if it goes elsewhere, as planned. The story is told in a series of blackouts, too many of them interminable. Characters make far too many cellphone calls; they don’t move the action along and most conversations are inane and empty." --Ted Hadley

At the Shaw Festival:


"Guys and Dolls," through Nov. 3 in the Festival Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "For this production, directed by Tadeusz Bradecki with molecular fidelity to the original material and choreographed to within a millimeter of its life by Parker Esse, the Shaw has rounded up a phenomenal cast." --Colin Dabkowski


"Major Barbara," through Oct. 19 in the Royal George Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "Director Jackie Maxwell’s production of Shaw’s long-winded but monumentally engaging play about the tug-of-war between public and corporate interests sets out to rescue Undershaft from her status as a weak protagonist all too willing to mold her ideals to the arguments of others. Alas, despite Maxwell’s laudable efforts and a remarkable performance from the magnetic Nicole Underhay in the title role, the show fails to transform Shaw’s projection screen of a protagonist into a living, breathing human." --Colin Dabkowski

Claire Julien and Julia Course star in the Shaw Festival's production of "Our Betters."

"Our Betters," through Oct. 27 in the Royal George Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "The play, which explores the efforts of newly wealthy Americans to seek ancient British titles and the status that accompanies them, is timed to exploit our culture’s renewed obsession with the roaring ’20s and the surrounding decades. The play, though a bit clunky in its conceit, is positively 'Gatsby'-esque in its attempt to uncover the emptiness of the British aristocracy and the equally vapid American climbers who try to invade it." --Colin Dabkowski

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