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Syracuse artist Carrie Mae Weems wins MacArthur Fellowship


Among the 24 artists, writers and thinkers who received one of this year's prestigious MacArthur "Genius" grants is Carrie Mae Weems, the accomplished Syracuse-based artist whose work explores the complex history of race, gender and class in the United States.

Weems, the subject of dozens of solo exhibitions and a mid-career retrospective currently on view in the Cleveland Museum of Art, has produced several bodies of photographic and video art that include daguerrotypes of African Americans tinted blood-red and etched with cutting poetic statements and graceful portraits of herself as a ghostly presence peering into history. As she suggests in the video above, her work uses race, gender and class as a starting point to explore about an almost limitless range of issues.

Curator Kathyrn E. Delmez, in her introduction to the catalogue for Weems' current retrospective, writes:

Over the past thirty years, Carrie Mae Weems has yearned to insert marginalized peoples into the historical record. She does this not only to bring ignored or erased experiences to light but to provide a more multidimensional picture of humanity as a whole, a picture that ultimately will spur greater awareness and compassion.

After its run at the Cleveland Museum of Art Ends on Sunday, the show will travel to the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University (Oct. 16 to Jan. 5, 2014) and end its run at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where it will be on view from Jan. 24 to April 23, 2014.

--Colin Dabkowski

Justin Timberlake to play FNC

Justin Timberlake is returning to Buffalo. The entertainment superstar just announced new dates on his  "The 20/20 Experience World Tour," including a Buffalo stop at 8 p.m. Feb. 22 in the First Niagara Center.

Tickets are $177.50, $92.50 and $47.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 30 at the First Niagara Center Box Office, online at, or by calling (888) 223-6000. A random handbill policy will be in effect and a limited number of handbills are available now. For information on the full tour and pre-sale info, check out

Remembering Sam Falzone, a Buffalo jazz master


By Mary Kunz Goldman

The news is spreading that saxophonist Sam Falzone has died. It is a sad loss. We feel it in a particular way at The News because for years, Sam was central to The Buffalo News' Jazz at the Albright Knox summer jazz festival.

Now that I think about it, without him there might have been no festival. Former News publisher Stanford Lipsey once told me that he had the idea to start it because, walking past the Albright-Knox Art Gallery one day, he heard saxophone playing.

"I looked to see who it was," he said, "and it was Sam Falzone."

Sam affected countless younger musicians. He taught at UB for a while and he was an encouraging presence at local jazz clubs. Kelly Bucheger of What Would Mingus Do? was just recalling in an email today about how Sam would come to the Central Park Grill and hear his band.

"He was always very encouraging, with insightful observations on my playing and writing and great stories of a life lived making jazz all over the world," he wrote.

I spent a year or two way back when playing the piano in Sam Falzone's jazz combo at UB. I hadn't expected to win the audition, and I will never forget how dazzled I was when Sam announced the players. He called me a girl and he called the guys cats. Then he proceeded to put us through the wringer. There were two jazz combos at UB at the time, and everyone said that Sam's was the tougher one. I think the rumors were right.

At the same time I still can name most of the wonderful songs he had us playing. Most of them were new to me. I still love them. One was Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird." Another was Joe Henderson's "Recorda-Me," and then there was this beautiful laid-back bluesy thing by Gerry Mulligan, "Line For Lyons."

Those were the easy numbers. Sam liked tricky rhythms from his association with California bandleader Don Ellis, and we did songs in 7/8, things like that. These intricacies were reflected in his own originals, some of which were collected on his album "A Family Sweet."

Up above is a recording I found of a Falzone original I had not known before, but it reflects the energetic Sam Falzone I knew. He was a great spirit and a heck of a horn player.

Buffalo is not quite the same without him.

Cher will play First Niagara Center in April of 2014

Cher's "Dressed to Kill" tour will include a stop at First Niagara Center on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, event promoters announced today. The tour is launched in support of "Closer to the Truth," the iconic singer's new album, out on Tuesday. 

Tickets for Cher's show go on sale on Friday, October 11th, at noon. They are priced $99.50, $79.50, $42, and $28. Tickets will be available at the First Niagara Center box office, through, or by calling 888 223-6000. All on-line ticket purchases will included a free copy of the "Closer to the Truth" album. 

- Jeff Miers 

Live blog at 7 p.m.: Emmy Awards

Drake concert rescheduled for Dec. 15

Drake, originally scheduled to perform with Miguel and Future on Oct. 16, has been rescheduled for Dec. 15 in First Niagara Center.

All tickets purchased for the original date will be honored. Tickets are $49.75, $69.75 and $99.75 and are currently on sale thorugh, or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.

Reelin' in the years in song lyrics

My colleague Jeff Miers this week reminded me and anyone else who has ever gone through a prolonged period of grief or sadness that music can help in the healing process.

That's one of the many great things about a familiar song, its ability to take you somewhere you might not have been expecting.

Take "All Summer Long." It's a prototypical Beach Boys song about summer fun, but whenever I hear it, I don't think of when it came out - 1964; I think of 1977, and the night my Dad took me to see "American Graffiti" when it was re-released because that song plays over the credits at the end of the film.

That got me thinking about a very specific kind of song: those that mention a year in the lyrics. And THAT got me thinking of how many songs mention a year in the lyrics and how that would be a fun list to put together if I could come up with 10. So I did. And I did.

10: “Battle of New Orleans,” Johnny Horton, (cover version), 1959: "In 1814 we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip." 

9: “ ’65 Love Affair” Paul Davis, 1981: " '65 love affair, rock 'n roll was simple and clear."

8: “1985” Bowling for Soup, 2004 (cover version): "Her two kids in high school they tell that’s she’s uncool 'cause she’s still preoccupied with 1985."

7: “Life in a Northern Town” The Dream Academy, 1985: "He said in winter 1963, it felt like the world would freeze, with John F. Kennedy And The Beatles."

6: “Running on Empty” Jackson Browne, 1977: "In ’65 I was 17" and "In ’69 I was 21."

5 “Oh What a Night” Frankie Vali & the Four Seasons, 1975: "Late December back in ’63, what a very special time for me."

4: “1979” Smashing Pumpkins, 1996: "Shakedown 1979, cool kids never have the time."

3: “In the Year 2525” Zager and Evans, 1969: "In the year 2525, if man is still alive …"

2: “Heat of the Moment” Asia 1982: "And now you find yourself in ’82, that disco hot spots hold no charm for you."

1: “1999” Prince and the Revolution, 1982: "So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999."

There are so many other songs that could have been included on this list. "1984" by David Bowie and "1969" by The Stooges are two that certainly are worthy. A couple of years ago, a blogger had pretty good luck coming up with songs that hit every year of the 20th century.

The great thing about these songs is they have the potential to take you two places: the year in the song, and the year of the song.

--- Bruce Andriatch 

Two upcoming Hip-Hop shows cancelled

Promoters announced today that the Cheif Keef show scheduled for October 2nd at the Town Ballroom, and the Big Boi (of Outkast) show slated for the same venue on October 3rd, have both been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. Refunds on tickets are available at the point of purchase.

- Jeff Miers 

Thursday Theater Roundup

The Thursday Theater Roundup, our weekly list of critic's picks from Western New York's busy theater scene, is back for the 2013-14 theater season.

This season, we'll simplify the roundup to include only the star rating and a link to The News' review of each production. The listing includes only shows that received three or more stars from our reviewers.

"Venus in Fur," through Oct. 5 in the New Phoenix Theatre. ★★★★

Candice Kogut and Adriano Gatto star in the New Phoenix Theatre's "Venus in Fur."

"Buffalo Rises," through Oct. 6 in Road Less Traveled Theatre. ★★★½

568105 Buffalo Rises 11 Can
Greg Howze performs in a play Gary Earl Ross' in Road Less Traveled Productions' "Buffalo Rises." Photo by Sharon Cantillon / The Buffalo News.

"The Big Band Theory," through Oct. 6 in the Kavinoky Theatre. ★★★½


"School for Husbands," through Oct. 6 in ICTC's Andrews Theatre. ★★★½

School for husbands, public

One of the all-time great jazz soundtracks in movies

Jazz Noir 2: 1955-1966

Some would militate for Leith Stevens' music for "The Wild One" in 1953. Not me.

As far as I'm concerned, the first truly great movie soundtrack to make brilliant use of jazz in a dramatic movie --the score that helped to show everyone else how it's done --was Elmer Bernstein's music for Otto Preminger's movie "Man With the Golden Arm" in 1955, two years later. Preminger was so happy with it, he hired one of the greatest of all jazz composers, Duke Ellington, in 1959 to write the music for "Anatomy of a Murder" which is, by general consensus, one of the greatest of all jazz movie scores.

The main theme of Bernstein's "The Man With the Golden Arm" is one of the great movie themes of the 1950's. And the soloing during the course of the film by Shorty Rogers and Shelley Manne is the cream of West Coast Professionalism.

The film leads off Ed Cardoni's "Jazz Noir 2" series at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night in Hallwalls.

The film itself may not be a patch on the idiosyncratic and much bigger novel by Nelson Algren but, hey, you've still got Frank Sinatra in one of his gutsiest roles, a lovable Kim Novak and a decidedly unlovable Eleanor Parker. Algren, to put it mildly, was as un-Hollywood as writers get. He once said of his employment to write a screenplay: "I was hired on Wednesday and fired on Friday. The guy that hired me was out of town on Thursday."

Others in Cardoni's series:

Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m. -Robert Wise's "I Want to Live" starring Susan Hayward as Barbara Graham, who figured in one of the most important capital punishment controversies of the 20th century. Hayward, like Bette Davis, is an actress whose style isn't easy for many to watch in the 21st century but you can't forget what she does in the film. And Johnny Mandel's score--especially much of the unused stuff that turned into an incredible Gerry Mulligan Septet record (with Art Farmer, Bud Shank, Pete Jolly, Frank Rosolino and the ubiquitous Manne) --was first rate movie jazz.

Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m. - Roger Vadim's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." The classic novel turned out much better later on starring John Malkovich and Glenn Close but this version is pretty good. And the music by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers is awfully good hard bop. And, yes, Thelonious Monk was around too.

Oct.8, 7:30 p.m. "Shadows." John Cassavetes' film, say some, began the modern style of independent movies. And the score was, ahem, written by, yes, Charles Mingus.

Oct.16, 7:30 p.m. - John Cassavetes "Too Late Blues." Cassavetes had a heart as big as his faith in actors. He also had David Raksin here to put the score together, the man who wrote the music for Preminger's "Laura." (Not a jazz score, to be sure, for "Laura" but the title tune is one jazz musicians have always loved.)

Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. - Arthur Penn's "Mickey One" starring Warren Beatty. Wait until you hear Beatty play the piano and sing his leering version of "I'm Coming Virginia."

Nov.6, 7:30 p.m. -"A Man Called Adam." Don Cheadle is working on a movie about the life of Miles Davis as we speak. This highly fictionalized version of Miles for movies' sake starred Sammy Davis Jr.

--Jeff Simon 

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