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Butterfly at Picasso Moon

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Butterfly performs on Allen Street.

It stands to reason that the first Infringement act I caught this year was extraordinarily bizarre. It consisted of a man, woman and two small children making a gigantic racket with a drum set, guitar and several household items including pieces of wrought iron and what looked to be the discarded top of a pressure cooker. This happened outside of Picasso Moon on Allen Street on a patch of sidewalk that also contained several trees whose trunks had been covered with knitted material, as if to keep them warm --- or yarnbombed, as the kids say.

Initially, I was pretty unimpressed with the act, which seemed to me a slightly more technically advanced version of what I used to do with the contents of my mother's kitchen when I was a kid. The more I watched, though, and the more the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves, it grew on me. By the time the guy pictured was slamming a recycling bin full of random metal objects repeatedly onto the pavement and creating a glorious clatter that echoed all around Days Park, I had a smile on my face. Here's a short Instavideo of the performance:

Later tonight, I'm catching Torn Space Theatre's production of "Uncle Vanya" in the DNIPRO Ukranian Center. Look for a review sometime later this evening.

--Colin Dabkowski

New Brighton Place Poetry Series features readings by Craik, Gatza, and Hogan

The Brighton Place Poetry Series, a new venue for readings and spoken word performances in the Buffalo area north towns, presents its second monthly program of the summer tonight at 7 p.m. featuring readings by poets Roger Craik, Geoffrey Gatza, and Paul Hogan at Brighton Place, 999 Brighton Road in Tonawanda. 

The new series, created and curated by Buffalo-based sculptor, painter, writer, and archivist Donna White, takes place in the activity room of Brighton Place, a community-based resource center located in a former Buffalo and Erie County Public Library branch serving the Kenmore and Tonawanda areas.  Ms. White, who holds a Masters degree in Library Science from the University at Buffalo, is the staff librarian at Brighton Place.

About the poets:

Roger Craik, a native of Leicester, England, teaches poetry and creative writing at Kent State University-Ashtabula, and has published four full-length collections of poems, "I Simply Stared" (2002), "Rhinoceros in Clumber Park" (2003), "The Darkening Green" (2004), and "Those Years" (2007).
 
Geoffrey Gatza is the award-winning poet, editor, and publisher of BlazeVOX Books.  His own books include "Secrets of my Prison House" (2010), "Kenmore: Poem Unlimited" (2009), and "Not So Fast Robespierre" (Menendez Publishing, 2008).

Paul Hogan is vice president of the John R. Oishei Foundation, and was recently picked to serve on the strategic advisory panel for the Cultural Data Project (CDP), a national initiative designed to strengthen arts and cultural organizations.  His books of poetry include "Points of Departures" (White Pine Press, 2008) and "Inventories" (BlazeVOX, 2012).

The reading and all other arts events taking place at Brighton Place are free and open to the public.

--R.D. Pohl
  

Getting your bearings in Allentown and beyond

Today's Gusto cover story about the Buffalo Infringement Festival features a map that should help festivalgoers orient themselves and provide a little taste of the Infringement vibe. Download a copy here, print it out, and take it with you to make your wanderings slightly less aimless:

 

--Colin Dabkowski

An Infringement primer

For those unfamiliar with the Infringement Festival, here's a primer on its origins from co-founder Donovan King that I recorded during last year's festival:

--Colin Dabkowski

Infringement Daily Planner: Day 1

Today is the first day of the 8th annual Buffalo Infringement Festival, a city-wide event that showcases the vast creative underground of this region and gives local artists a chance to showcase their work. Every day in this space, we'll be listing five recommended activities. But the festival is so vast -- with hundreds of performances, theater productions, visual art shows and street parties to choose from -- that you should also check out the full schedule at Infringebuffalo.org.

Here are today's picks:

A stretch of sidewalk in front of the Antique Man shop at 234 Allen St. will become a stage for the amorphous Infringement Busking Collective, an eclectic group of musicians and other performers who will serenade pedestrians with a series of performances ranging from straight-ahead acoustic guitar performances to experimental noise rock. (This performance from the 2011 festival, for instance, was one of the latter.) The collective performs from 12 to 6 p.m. today and returns on Friday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and next Thursday.

Anyone who has not experienced the true weirdness of Infringement might want to amble past Picasso Moon at the western edge of Allen Street between 7:30 and 8 p.m. tonight. There, they'll be able to catch an artist by the name of Andrew Biggie mounting a strange bit of performance art. Here is the show's very Infringey, very cryptic description: "Attempts to find stillness. Images of death, and reoccurring dreams hum open. They discuss duality as I lose friends. I fill my head with teenage junk. I will sing on sidewalks rearranging mundane rituals and become a plastic bag." OK, then.

I have not yet seen the Slyboots Drum Ensemble, but word on the street is that they are unmissable. It's made up of students from Buffalo's Slyboots School of Music, Art and Dance and promises a "powerful showcase of complex rhythms from around the world and infectious grooves that force your body to move." You can catch the first of many Infringement performances from the ensemble at Old Wondermoth, otherwise known as the Nickel City Co-op, at 208 North St.

The Slyboots ensemble will join the Infringement Festival Opening Parade, a sure-to-be-strange group of pot-banging, kazoo-playing, ridiculously costumed Infringers which will make its way from Old Wondermoth into the center of Allentown (and possibly back again) sometime between 6:30 and 8 p.m. It's a perfectly strange way to kick off the festival.

Today's absolute not-to-be-missed event is, as usual, the Infringement Festival Open Ceremonies, which get started in Nietzsche's at 7 p.m. and runs into the wee hours. The $5 show features a roster of 12 Buffalo bands and is a good chance to meet and hang out with Infringers from around the city.

Follow my Infringement coverage here and at @colindabkowski.

--Colin Dabkowski

Thursday Theater Roundup

The Buffalo theater scene is in the midst of a rare (and extremely brief) lull, which means there aren't any local productions on the Thursday Theater Roundup this week. (As a reminder, the Roundup as a general rule includes only shows which receive three or more stars from our reviewers.)

Fortunately for local theatergoers, this week marks the opening of the Buffalo Infringement Festival, which features a crazy array of productions, from Subversive Theatre's "A Man's a Man" to "Car Stories," mounted by Montreal's Optative Theatre Laboratories. Click here for a listing of all Infringement shows. Stay tuned to this space for updates on Infringement shows, and follow me on Twitter @colindabkowski during the festival. Also, tonight is the opening of Shakespeare in Delaware Park's production of "Measure for Measure," which moves the Bard's tale from Vienna, Italy to the Wild West border town of Vienna, Texas.

And below, take a look at what's on offer just over the border at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont:

At the Shaw Festival:

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"Enchanted April," through Oct. 26 in the Festival Theatre. ★★★

From the review: "The play departs in several ways from the popular 1991 film, but the spirit of love reborn or found again remains, and lingers after the curtain comes down." --Melinda Miller

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"Lady Windemere's Fan," through Oct. 19 in the Festival Theatre. ★★★★

From the review: "The production design of the show, which provides an alternately light-drenched or shadow-plagued backdrop that amplifies the wide mood swings of its characters, is one of the most enthralling the Shaw Fest has ever conceived. Teresa Przybylski’s sets and Louise Guinand’s lighting conspire to create sumptuous and frightening stage pictures that seem to owe more to Caravaggio or Velazquez than anything from Hollywood or Broadway."  --Colin Dabkowski

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"Trifles," through Oct. 12 in the Court House Theatre. ★★★½

From the review: "Next to Glaspell’s beloved mini-masterpiece, Eugene O’Neill’s “A Wife for Life” looks like exactly the piece of unpolished juvenilia it is. Which makes sense, as it was the great American dramatist’s first play, which he later disowned and attempted, unsuccessfully, to destroy. We should be glad he didn’t. Though the piece is probably more interesting to O’Neill scholars and seasoned theatergoers interested in tracing the patterns of his career, its proximity to “Trifles” elevates it to something more." --Colin Dabkowski

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"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

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"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

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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

Tragically Hip joins Flogging Molly, Lowest of the Low

Gord Downie and the guys in the Tragically Hip are making good on their promise to area fans.

Less than a week after their show at the Outer Harbor was cut short by severe weather, the band has announced a new Buffalo date that will be free to who held tickets for the July 19 show.

The Hip will now join the previously scheduled Flogging Molly and Lowest of the Low concert for a very cool triple bill Aug. 2 at the Outer Harbor. The show starts at 6:45 p.m. Here's the deal.

If you had purchased tickets to the July 19 Tragically Hip concert, you will receive a free ticket to this show. If you purchased the ticket online or over the phone via Ticketmaster, you will automatically be issued a print-at-home ticket directly to the email account provided.

Starting at noon on July 25, those who purchased tickets in person through Ticketmaster outlets such as Walmart, the Town Ballroom box office or the After Dark office should bring their receipt from that purchase or their ticket stub from the July 19 show to the Town Ballroom box office (681 Main St.), the After Dark office (630 Elmwood Ave.) or to the Outer Harbor box office tent the night of the new concert to redeem it for a free ticket.

Anyone who bought a ticket from another ticket provider or reseller will need to contact that seller to receive their reissued ticket.

All tickets purchased for Flogging Molly/Lowest of the Low show will also be honored.

To read Jerry Sullivan's review of the July 19 event, visit http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130720/CITYANDREGION/130729911

- Toni Ruberto

The Gusto Blog is Infringement central through Aug. 4

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Buffalo beat-boxer Scantron will give several performances during this year's Infringement Festival.

On Thursday, the weird, wacky and altogehter unpredictable Buffalo Infringement Festival kicks off its 11-day run. For the length of Infringement, keep your browsers pointed to this blog, which will host a daily Infringement planner, reviews, video interviews, commentary and, hopefully, some pointed opinions from Infrgers and audience members.

(Check out last year's bloggy Infringement coverage for an idea of what to expect.)

Also, I can't stress strongly enough that this is meant to be a space for community discussion and engagement, so please don't hesitate to chime in about your favorite Infringement acts, or to disagree with me, or to offer up any kind of Infringey opinions or information. You can do that in the comment section at the end of each post, or you can find me on Twitter at @colindabkowski. (In past years, engagement from Infringementgoers and blog readers hasn't been as high as I'd like, so it would be extra-awesome if we could get a bigger and better conversation going on the blog this year.)

Also, be sure to follow the official @infringebuffalo Twitter feed for updates throughout the festival.

Come back tomrrow morning for the first list of Infringement recommendations, a new grouping of which will be posted every morning until the festival winds down on Aug. 4. Happy Infringement!

--Colin Dabkowski

Jonas Brothers send note to Buffalo fans

For those disappointed over the announcement that the Jonas Brothers will not be able to reschedule their Darien Lake concert, this might make you feel better. The trio sent this note to area fans:

“We were so excited to play for our fans in upstate New York this past Friday, but mother nature had her own agenda.  While we tried to find a date to reschedule the Darien show, the calendar just didn't allow it, and we have unfortunately had to cancel the engagement. We want to apologize to all of our fans, and hope to come back soon. If you bought your tickets online or via phone, your credit card will automatically be refunded. If you bought them in person, please return your tickets to your point of purchase for a refund."

Joe, Nick & Kevin

Jonas Brothers concert won't be rescheduled

The Jonas Brothers show canceled Friday night due to severe weather at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, will not be rescheduled.

Tickets purchased online or charged by phone will automatically be refunded. Refunds from other outlets will be available at point of purchase.

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