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Fredonia arts center on list of 25 'amazing' campus theaters


The Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia (shown above) appeared on a recent ranking of the top 25 college theater venues on the website It took the 19th spot on the list, which also includes Syracuse University's Regent Theatre Complex, the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing arts at Bard College.

--Colin Dabkowski

A new arts space on Grant Street?


For the past few days, Jason Lloyd Clement, avowed Buffalover and director of community outreach at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has been sending out cryptic Instagram and Facebook posts about a new project he's working on with Buffalo-born artist Casey Milbrand.

The pair has evidently rented a space next to Sweetness7 on Grant Street (above), where a huge heart with "#Buffalove" hashtag hangs behind windows scrawled with a tic-tac-toe board and an intriguing message: "Can't get enough of this place so we rented a space."

What's in store for the space? Clement, who fell head over heels for Buffalo during the National Trust's conference here in 2011, isn't saying. But keep an eye on the Grant Street space, and this digital one, for more info as he and Milbrand reveal their plans.

--Colin Dabkowski

Infringement Fest issues call for work

The 2014 Buffalo Infringment Festival, scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 3, is now accepting applications from local artists, musicians, filmmakers, poets and performers of all stripes. Some info from the release:

Infringement welcomes all musicians, visual artists, dancers, poets, actors, filmmakers, performance artists and street performers to be involved. There are no fees to enter and every application is accepted. Once you have started an application, you can go back to it at any time and add or change information. Registering early keeps you in touch with the monthly events and fundraisers and links you with an organizer in your genre of art. It also helps organizers plan ahead with volume, as the festival grows larger every year. To celebrate our 10th year we encourage everyone applying to step outside with their creative ideas and transform the streets of Buffalo into the ultimate free venue!

To submit your proposal, click here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Babeville to host forum on art, culture and 'placemaking' tonight

Jason Schupback, director of design for the National Endowment for the Arts, will lead a forum on the role of art and culture in the development of urban spaces tonight at 7 in Babeville's Asbury Hall

As projects such as Larkinville and Canalside spring up in American cities recovering from decades of economic stagnation, developers, architects and politicians are thinking much more about the role of culture in creating new urban landscapes and economies. The term for that trend is "placemaking," a highly lampoonable piece of jargon The Atlantic Cities included on its list of "Urbanist Buzzwords to Rethink in 2014."

Whatever you may think of the word itself, the trend is well worth exploring. Tonight's forum is sure to touch on many important issues central to the development of Buffalo in the next few years. Anyone interested in the rapid development of the city should check it out.

The forum is sponsored by Partners for a Livable Western New York, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and presented by Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. As seating is limited, those interested in attending should RSVP by calling Hallwalls at 854-1694.

--Colin Dabkowski

Warming trend continues with more fine WNY fireplaces


By Mary Kunz Goldman

This subzero day is the perfect time to rekindle the discussions of the best fireplaces in Western New York, a topic probed in depth on the cover of the recent Gusto.

We also received a very nice note from the Roycroft Inn's Dan Garvey.

"If you ever do a follow-up, I wanted to include the great fireplaces at the Roycroft Inn," he writes. "These are only two of several on the Campus.  One in the Library and one in the Craftsman Lounge." That is the Craftsman Lounge in the picture up above.

"There are also other fireplaces located in the Morris Room and around the entire campus in the Copper Shop, the Print Shop and also the Roycroft Chapel," Dan continues. "They are all magnificent and created in the Arts and Crafts style."

The Roycroft is heavenly and we cannot wait to warm up on one of those hearths.

We also got several notes about the Red Coach Inn in Niagara Falls. Clearly the fireplace at this lovely and legendary venue warms a lot of hearts, not to mention toes at a time like this.

"It's such a beautiful open hearth located in the dining room in a historical inn, that I think it deserved mentioning," writes fireplace connoisseur Lorraine Pasternak. "Living in Buffalo, we love to visit the Falls during the winter.  After a trek through 'America's oldest state park' and witnessing the up close beauty of the rapids, the Inn and its fireplace (across the street) are like a dream! Lunch, snacks and dinner is served, but we have just stopped in for drinks and sat by the fire when seats are available. Since winter is 'off season' for visiting the Falls, it's a great time to go!" 

Another irresistible invitation, and wonderful to contemplate on a frosty day like today. 

Finally a gentleman commented on the story:

"This may be a little further to the east but the Batavia Library also has a magnificent fireplace with surroundings right out of a Gatsby parlor. Plenty of comfortable chairs and a few electrical plugs for those of us who have worked on the road but chose not to do it at a Timmy Hoooo."

You never know when you will find yourself in Batavia. And when we do, we will head right to the library. That would be the Richmond Memorial Library. It looks like quite a pretty place.

These all certainly sound like fine fireplaces.

Would that a giant hand could pick us up and put us down in front of one of them, right now!

Diocese of Buffalo on St. Ann's: 'Demolition has never been our driving force'

In my column yesterday about ongoing efforts to save St. Ann's Church from the wrecking ball, I criticized the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for its all-or-nothing philosophy regarding the future of the beloved structure.

Today, the diocese amended its Jan. 21 press release on a recent Vatican decision to prevent the church's deconsecration -- and therefore sale or demolition -- with the following paragraph:

"Demolition has never been our driving force or our goal, which is to preserve the space by development for other than religious purposes. A successful appeal of the decree would allow the diocese to pursue its priority for St. Ann: to find a suitable buyer for the church, with the goal of stabilizing the structure and ensuring that it is a community asset. The diocese remains in conversation with Preservation Buffalo Niagara regarding possible future uses for the entire St. Ann complex, which includes the church, former school and convent.”

Read the updated version of the release here.

Continue reading "Diocese of Buffalo on St. Ann's: 'Demolition has never been our driving force'" »

Who's the coolest person in Buffalo? Mo Rocca wants to know

Earlier today, CBS Sunday Morning Correspondent Mo Rocca sent out a tweet inquiring who was the coolest person in Buffalo. Take a look, and tweet him back if you're so inclined. It just might be you.

Rocca said he'll be in Buffalo this week doing a Super Bowl story on chicken wings, and is trying to avoid rehashing the same old Duffs vs. Anchor Bar story. (We feel his pain.) Instead, he said, he's looking for someone interesting/hilarious to eat wings with. Tweet him at @MoRocca.

While he's here, Rocca will also be working on a story for the program about 13th president Millard Fillmore, a local figure who has long fascinated him.

--Colin Dabkowski

No pain, no 'Grain': new theater fest launches first ad

"Quixotic" doesn't even begin to describe Neil Wechsler's attempt to launch "Against the Grain," an enormously ambitious outdoor theater project set to debut Wechsler's adaptation of "Faust" next summer at Silo City. "Faustian," though, might be a little more accurate. In any case, Wechsler's big dreams for the incipient project -- for which he intends to recruit actors and creative types from across the Northeast -- are captured pretty well in the festival's first foray into viral marketing. Here's a look at the video, which stars Wechsler as himself and Silo City impresario Rick Smith as the devil:


--Colin Dabkowski

Visiting pianist plans Sunday recital at Darwin Martin House

Christopher Guzman
By Mary Kunz Goldman

The second season of Music in Buffalo's Historic Places, the brainchild of UB Music Professor Eric Huebner, kicks off at 3 p.m. Sunday with a piano recital at Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House in North Buffalo.

The guest recitalist is pianist Christopher Guzman, pictured above.

You may glimpse in this video Mr. Guzman playing Beethoven's beautiful Piano Sonata Op. 109 in the 2011 Seoul International Music Competition. The Beethoven is followed by Scriabin and Ravel.

At the Darwin Martin House on Sunday, Guzman is playing classics -- Beethoven's Sonata Op. 27 No. 1 as well as Brahms and Liszt -- and new music by Hans Werner Henze and Jorg Widmann that Huebner points out was inspired by the past and by historic places. A piece of special interest is the brief, seldom-heard reflection by Franz Liszt called "At the Grave of Richard Wagner." 

A Steinway piano is being provided by Denton, Cottier and Daniels.

The concert begins at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Greatbatch Pavilion of the Darwin Martin Complex, 125 Jewett Parkway, near Delaware Park. Tickets are general admission, $20 for general public and $15 for Martin House members and students. Buy a concert ticket and you will receive a two-for-one coupon to use for a future tour of the Darwin D. Martin Complex.  

Seating is limited and reservations are strongly suggested. Reserve tickets online or call 856-3858.

Erie County adopts a culture-friendly 2014 budget

On Tuesday, the Erie County Legislature passed County Executive Mark Poloncarz's 2014 budget along party lines, as Harold McNeil reported. Just as a refresher, here's a look at what the budget contains for Erie County arts organizations:

  • A 1.5 percent increase in operating funding support for 63 arts organizations, bringing total 2014 cultural funding (not including libraries) to $5.64 million
  • Funding for previously unfunded groups including Arts Services Initiative, Buffalo Niagara Choirs Inc., Central Terminal Restoration Corp., Lower Lakes Marine Historical Society, Preservation Buffalo Niagara and the Orchard Park Symphony Orchestra.

Take a look at the full list below or download a PDF copy here.

--Colin Dabkowski

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