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These Albright-Knox paintings are coming to get you

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"La Jeune bonne (The Servant Girl)," a 1939 painting by Amedeo Modigliani from the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

For the last few days, the always clickable Albright-Knox Art Gallery Tumblr has been featuring paintings from the gallery's collection that remind staffers of spooky films. Among the pieces featured are Modigliani's "La Jeune bonne" (above), Jiro Yoshihara's "To Martha's Memory," Melissa Miller's "Aesop's Crow" and Joseph Marioni's "Red Painting."

--Colin Dabkowski

Rolling Stones documentary 'Sweet Summer Sun" to premiere at Screening Room Nov. 7

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"Sweet Summer Sun," a new concert film documenting the Rolling Stones triumphant return to London's Hyde Park for two shows in the summer of 2013, will premiere at the Screening Room, 3131 Sheridan Dr. in Amherst, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7. A second showing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13. Tickets are $10, $8 and $6, and can be purchased through www.screeningroom.net.  
- Jeff Miers 

Joe Jonas will play KISSmas Bash

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Following Tuesday's official announcement that the band had broken up, the three Jonas Brothers - Nick, Joe and Kevin - appeared on "Good Morning America" this morning to shed some light on their decision. 

"We... felt like it was starting to get stale to us," said oldest brother Joe during the televised interview. 

The teen pop sensations expressed interest in pursuing various avenues on their own. For Joe Jonas, one of those avenues will lead to First Niagara Center on Dec. 12, when the singer will perform as part of KISSmas Bash 2013, in lieu of the previously scheduled Jonas Brothers band. 

Joe's appearance was confirmed this morning during an interview with Kiss 98.5 FM morning host Janet Snyder. 

"So, will I be able to say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Jonas!' at Kissmas Bash?" Snyder asked. 

"You can say that, yes," replied Jonas. 

You can listen to the full interview here.

- Jeff Miers

 

A closer look: Craig LaRotonda's 'My Malignant Twin'

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Artist: Craig LaRotonda // Title: "My Malignant Twin" // 464 Gallery // Through Nov. 3

Just in time for Halloween, 464 Gallery on Amherst Street has opened its third annual "Monster" exhibition. One of the highlights is Craig LaRotonda's piece above, a characteristically sinister and disturbing painting that evokes a not-so-nice narrative. Here's what LaRotonda had to say about the painting's discomfiting subjects:

"This painting is about brothers who are Siamese twins. One of the twins is evil and the other is good. The good brother must burden the weight of his bad brother who has no legs or arms and is sick. They live in the forest where they can exist unbothered by their unique deformity."

The show runs through Sunday.

--Colin Dabkowski

Remembering Lou Reed's Buffalo performances

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Lou Reed didn't play Buffalo very often, but two shows in our area have become the stuff of legend over the years. In fact, it seems that more people claim to have been at these two shows than could actually have fit in the venues at the time. (This is a lot like Nirvana's  November 5th, 1993 appearance at UB's Alumni Arena,  which, apparently, everyone I've ever met in Buffalo attended. LOL.) 

Reed performed at the New Century Theatre in Buffalo on May 9th, 1975. He was back a few years later for an April 28th, 1978 show in the gym at Buffalo State College. Here are the setlists from both shows.

- Jeff Miers 

 

Lou Reed, May 9th, 1975, New Century Theatre

Sweet Jane

I Wanna Be Black

Coney Island Baby

I'm Waiting For the Man

You Can Dance

How Do You Think It Feels?

Downtown Dirt

Walk On the Wild Side

Kicks

Complete the Story Now

White Light/White Heat

Oh, Jim

Rock & Roll

 

Lou Reed, April 28, 1978, Buffalo State College

Gimmie Some Good Times

Satellite of Love

Leave Me Alone

I Wanna Be Black

Walk On the Wild Side

Coney Island Baby

Dirt

Street Hassle

Sweet Jane

Rock & Roll

Heroin

 

Buffalo Public Theatre launches tonight with 'Our Town'

Tonight at 7:30 in Ujima's TheatreLoft, the newly formed Buffalo Public Theatre -- a collaboration among Kelli Bocock Natale, Loraine O'Donnell and Ujima Theatre -- will produce its first event, a reading of Thornton Wilder's masterwork "Our Town." The play is a poignant exploration of life and death in America told through the lives and stories of a group of small-town citizens. Despite its apparently optimistic tone, it is as moving a look at what makes American life tick as anything by Arthur Miller or Edward Albee.

My favorite part (and I'm not nearly alone in this) has always been the farewell monologue delivered by Emily, whose ghostly form returns to visit the town after her death and finds the experience too difficult to bear:

"But first: Wait! One more look. Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by Grover's Corners... Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking...and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. ...Do human beings ever realize life while they live it? — Every, every minute? ...I'm ready to go back...I should have listened to you. That's all human beings are! Just blind people."

Ain't that the truth.

--Colin Dabkowski

Lou Reed, the father of alternative rock music, is dead at 71

by Jeff Miers

News Pop Music Criti

Lou Reed, the father of alternative rock music and the man responsible for co-founding the hugely influential Velvet Underground, died on Sunday at the age of 71. Details of Reed's death had not been disclosed at press time. 

"The world has lost a fine songwriter and poet," Reed's former Velvet Underground partner John Cale wrote on Twitter Sunday. "I've lost my 'school-yard buddy'".  

Reed routinely wrote about the dark underbelly of American life - songs detailing the life of drug addicts, the destitute, and the detritus of American life.  

There was an emphasis on peace, love, and an idealism that bordered on utopianism in the culture of popular music at the tail-end of the 60s. But a new school, well-studied in the works of the Beat writers and eager to bring an unflinchingly  realist approach to the table, was about to make its presence felt as that decade gave way to the 70s. Reed, as principal songwriter with the Velvet Underground, painted in stark strokes the East Coast reaction to West Coast idealism. Here was a dark take on American life, an urban view that stood in stark contrast to hippie idealism, and Reed was its chief architect. 

The Velvet Underground never became a major commercial concern, but the band's influence was monumental. While the late 60s found domestic artists crafting a psychedelic music rooted in American folk, country, blues and jazz, the VU favored an approach more commonly associated with the European avant garde. Songs like "Waiting for the Man," "Heroin," "All Tomorrow's Parties" and "Femme Fatale" smacked of a gritty verisimilitude, and married a primal pre-punk to Reed's drone-based compositional tendencies. 

Despite it's lack of mainstream success, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, largely based on the influence the band had on punk and alternative musicians like David Bowie, the Pixies, Sonic Youth, R.E.M, and U2. 

When the Velvet Underground disbanded, Reed launched a solo career that would find him pushing the envelope in the areas of glam rock, garage rock, punk, new wave and pop. In 1973, he scored a major hit with "Walk On the Wild Side," a song that dealt with trans-gender issues, drug  use, and the lives of down-and-out hustlers. That it was a hit still seems like a miracle all these decades on. 

Reed would prove to be a hit-and-miss proposition as a solo artist. He released several albums that insist on being regarded as classics - the David Bowie produced "Transformer," "Berlin, "Rock and Roll Animal," "Cone Island Baby," and later, "New York," "Magic & Loss," and "Ecstasy." He would also baffle his public with decidedly confrontational releases like the all-feedback "Metal Machine Music," the dark-to-the-point-of-bleakness "Poe," and even the more recent collaboration with Metallica, "Lulu." 

Throughout his career, Reed displayed an artistic bull-headedness that spoke of an iconoclast's tendencies. He seemed to enjoy confronting his audiences with the unexpected, and he never appeared to be concerned with catering to public tastes.  

Many of Reed's peers and fellow musicians posted their thoughts on Twitter throughout Sunday. 

"R.I.P Lou Reed. Walk on the peaceful side," read a post from the Who. 

"My friend Lou Reed came to the end of his song," posted author Salman Rushdie. "So very sad."

"RIP Lou Reed. you made the world a better place," wrote Jim James of My Morning Jacket.

In Buffalo, Reed's music left an indelible stain on the original music scene, particularly as it was represented in clubs like the Continental and Mohawk Place. Bands that displayed a Reed influence included Odiorne, Dark Marbles, Girlpope, Terry Sullivan, and Semi-Tough, among many others. 

Said Brad Solley of Semi-Tough on Sunday, "Lou was Nathan's Hot Dogs, the Cyclone, street corner a cappella groups, the dark side of drugs, New York City, and the gorgeous sound of feedback. He was heroic. He made me want to write. He made me want to start a group. I only wish I could have his gift for words, so I could describe what he really meant to me."

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Live chat at noon: Miers on Music

Award-winning digital writer Alan Bigelow to spin his 'Webyarns' tonight at Medaille

Over thirty years ago, at the dawn of what then called the age of "personal computing," it became clear that digital technology's influence on the creative writing process was certain to become both sweeping and transformative.  With the advent of Apple's graphical user interface in 1984, it became possible to conceive of "textuality" in multi-dimensional space, making new approaches to both reading and writing possible.  

By the end of the 1980's, an avant-garde of literary talent was already experimenting with digital narrative forms that yielded a plasticity heretofore only conceptually suggested by works like Julio Cortazar's "Hopscotch" or Jorge Luis Borges's "The Library of Babel."  The prominent American fiction writer and novelist Robert Coover was an early advocate and adopter, and by 1987 Buffalo native and Canisius College alumnus Michael Joyce's "afternoon, a story" became the first widely-circulated example of what came to be known as "hypertext fiction" published by the digital arts software company Eastgate Systems.

Before long critics and literary journalists--including yours truly--were touting digital literature as the Next Big Thing, and some cases, even suggesting that within a decade or two, hypertext fiction would render the traditional linear means of storytelling obsolete, consigning the novel and even the Chekovian short story to the ash-heap of history in the name of technological narrative progress.

Continue reading "Award-winning digital writer Alan Bigelow to spin his 'Webyarns' tonight at Medaille" »

Flaming Lips will release six-song EP November 1st

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[From a Warner Bros. press release issued today.] (Jeff Miers)

"October 23rd, 2013 - (Burbank, CA.) - THE FLAMING LIPS will release a brand new six-song EP featuring new music inspired by Summit Entertainment's upcoming feature film Ender's Game on October 29th, to coincide with the film's November 1st release. Today, all six songs will premiere online at various music-related outlets at 10 a.m. ET.

Here are the links to stream each track:
"Peace Sword (Open Your Heart)" at TheDailyBeast.com

"If They Move, Shoot 'Em" at NPR.org


"Is The Black At The End Good" at Spin.com


"Think Like A Machine, Not A Boy" at Stereogum.com

"Wolf Children" at RollingStone.com 

"Assassin Beetle - The Dream Is Ending" at Pitchfork.com


The CD and limited-edition 12" vinyl release will follow on Black Friday/Record Store Day, which falls on November 29th. This beautiful vinyl package features the same audio content as the CD, but features different artwork. It will be pressed on black, standard-weight vinyl with a dazzling "LIPSian" gatefold sleeve. The title track "Peace Sword (Open Your Heart)" was written exclusively for the film Ender's Game, while the remaining five tracks were all inspired by the book upon which the film is based as well as the motion picture itself."

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