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Give for Greatness becomes part of ASI

Give for Greatness, the arts fundraising organization launched by Artvoice publisher Jamie Moses in the wake of Erie County's 2011 cultural funding crisis, will become part of the Arts Services Initiative.

The merger of the two organizations, funded by a consortium of local foundations known as the Fund for the Arts, will create a new development director position at ASI. It will primarily benefit small cultural organizations and expand G4G's mission to include a larger swath of Western New York.

As the funding crisis of 2011 recedes into memory, ASI board president and MusicalFare Theatre founder Randall Kramer said, "the need for G4G remains as prevalent as ever for small and new organizations, as well as groups in Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties where public sector [support] for the arts is not as strongas it is in Erie."

It's tough to overestimate the importance of a group dedicated to funding new and emerging cultural groups Western New York and Erie County, as the vast majority of public and private funding goes to long-established organizations. Gaining a toe-hold as a new group is remarkably difficult -- a problem this reimagined version of G4G aims to solve.

Since its founding, according to the G4G website, the organization has raised $150,000 for local arts organizations. It was headed for a time by former Studio Arena Theatre director Kathleen Gaffney, who left the organization several months ago.

--Colin Dabkowski

Library springs forward with free concert series


By Mary Kunz Goldman

Check it out: The Buffalo and Erie County Central Library is holding five free noontime concerts starting April 2. The concerts, which take place in the Central Library Auditorium downtown, is named the Judy Summer Concert Series in honor of the late Judy Summer, a trustee and former Kenmore school teacher.

The first concert , on Wed., April 2, features the Buffalo Chamber Players, some of whom are pictured above. This creative group, which calls itself the Elmwood Village's resident chamber ensemble, was formed in 2007 by Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra violist Janz Castelo. They are performing Mozart's beautiful  String Quartet No. 19 in C, K. 465, known as the “Dissonance” because of its weird beginning. Verdi's String Quartet in E Minor completes the program.

Here is the rest of the schedule: 

Thursday, April 10: The Charles Reedy Jazz Quintet gives listeners a taste of the Colored Musicians Club. Reedy began playing at the historic club in 1947 and has performed with such legends as  many saxophonist Spider Martin, pianist Al Tinney, C.Q.Price Big Band, CMC Jazz All-Stars Band, and the George Scott Big Band.

Friday, April 25: The Buffalo State Chamber Music Ensembles explore music by Mozart, Villa-Lobos, Beethoven, Bach and the Beatles. 

Wednesday, May 7: The Buffalo Gay Men’s Chorus showcases the traditions of men's choral singing.

Friday, June 13: The Amherst Saxophone Quartet performs vintage pop, ragtime and early jazz numbers.

All programs begin at 12 noon, run approximately one hour and are free. 


Digital Comic Museum puts thousands of comics online for free


Issue 1 of "Crime Detective" from May, 1948, is available through the Digital Comic Museum.

Twitter is abuzz today with news that the Digital Comic Museum has digitized and uploaded some 15,000 comics from before 1959 -- an era comic book fans refer to as the golden age of the form. The volume and range of titles is staggering. Check them out here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Micah Nathan brings his 'backwards' book tour to Larkin Square


Author Micah Nathan

Micah Nathan, the bestselling author of "Gods of Aberdeen" and a University at Buffalo graduate, will visit Larkin Square on Wednesday to hold an unorthodox book reading. According to a release from the organizers of the Larkin Square Author Series, Nathan is "crowd-sourcing" his latest book-in-progress, "In Search of Absolutely Nothing," by inviting feedback from those who attend his readings as "an excuse to connect with readers, to see how they respond."

The book is based in part on the influence of Andy Warhol and other famous modern artists.

“I've always loved Warhol's art but found Warhol himself unknowable, so when I started writing the book, I found an excuse to dig deeper,” Nathan said in the release.

The reading begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday in The Filling Station in Larkin Square, 745 Seneca St.

--Colin Dabkowski



Arts Services Initiative launches cultural awards

The Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, a cross-cultural advocacy organization headed by Tod A. Kniazuk, announced today that it is lanching an annual series of cultural awards.

The new awards program is similar to the yearly honors the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County handed out until its demise in 2010. ASI is accepting nominations on its website for lifetime achievement, organization of the year, artist of the year, rising star, cultural supporter of the year, cultural advocate of the year, volunteer of the year and DEC program of the year. The ceremony will be on June 25 in the Hotel @ Lafayette.

Read ASI's release on the new awards program here.

--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

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library releases list of most popular books

On Friday, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library released its annual list of the most popular and requested books of the year. Here it is:

Most requested books:

1. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

2. "Inferno" by Dan Brown

3. "And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini

Adult fiction

1. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

2. "The Forgotten" by David Baldacci

3. "Notorious" by Janet Evanovich

Adult non-fiction

1. "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand

2. "Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot" by Bill O'Reilly

3. "Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir that Inspired 'Upstairs/Downstairs' and 'Downton Abbey'" by Margaret Powell

Young adult/teen

1. "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins

2. "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins

3. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

Children's fiction

1. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel" by Jeff Kinney

2. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" by Jeff Kinney

3. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw" by Jeff Kinney

Children's non-fiction

1. "The Lego Book" by Daniel Lipkowitz

2. "The Lego Ideas Book" by Daniel Lipkowitz

3. "Lego Super Heroes: Batman Visual Dictionary" by Daniel Lipkowitz

--Colin Dabkowski

'Buffalo: America's Best Designed City'

Buffalonians gathered earlier this evening in Larkinville to watch the premiere screening of John Paget's short promotional video "Buffalo: America's Best Designed City." Take a look:

--Colin Dabkowski

Infringement Daily Planner: Day 11

Well, that was quick.

We've reached the end of this year's Buffalo Infringement Festival, which wraps up today with a series of events in and around Allentown. Here are five suggestions to help you close out the festival:

• Pac-Man Park, an interactive Pac-Man game in Days Park organized by Jose Rodriguez, will have its final outing from 2 to 4 p.m. Read more about it here.

• You might still be able to find a spot for Car Stories, the long-running theater experience that takes place inside a car in the NIetzsche's parking lot. It runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

• The Infringment Festival closing parade gets going around 6:30 at Old Wondermoth and will wind its way through the streets of Allentown.

• The grand finale of the festival are the Closing Ceremonies and Iffy Awards, which get started in Nietzsche's at 8 p.m. and run through at least 1 a.m. The event features performances from Crows and Jays, Erin Sydney Welsh, Greengage, Savannah King, manawi thorn, Jen Whitmore, second trip, Sara Elizabeth and Wise Medecine.

• If fire-dancing is your thing, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to close out the fest in Days Park around 9 p.m., when A Buffalo Pyromance gives its final performane.

--Colin Dabkowski

Infringement Daily Planner: Day 10

Today is the penultimate day of the Buffalo Infringement Festival. If you're looking for something to do this afternoon, check out the day's busy schedule. Here are five potential highlights:

• At 1 p.m., Squeaky Wheel hosts its Second Saturday Film Festival, featuring eight short films by local filmmakers.

• At 1:30 p.m., Allentown Music will host several hours of music during its Rock on the Porch event, with performances from SIC SIN, Legal the Lifesaver, the Left Hand of Darkness, Warren Daniels and Jupiter Jefferson.

The Foundry, over on Northampton Street, is throwing a Pirate Party starting at 6 p.m. with plenty of performances and more than likely some hilarious costumes.

• "The Cashier's Manifesto," a theater piece derived from cashiers' true stories about their experiences on the job, runs from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m. in Casa De Arte.

• The Hell's Harlots Burlesque troupe performs a half-hour set in El Museo at 9 p.m.

--Colin Dabkowski

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