Because of an error in a press releae, an item in Gusto today misstated the time of Neglia Ballet Artists and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's prodcution of "Giselle." It is at 7:30. Here is some more info:
For the first time in the memory of local balletomanes, a full local production of the beloved ballet “Giselle” will open in Shea’s Performing Arts Center. A collaboration between Neglia Ballet Artists and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, it is one of the larger local ballet undertakings in recent years.
One of the oldest ballets still in the repertoire of major companies, “Giselle” tells the heartbreaking tale of a love affair gone horribly awry. The peasant girl Giselle falls head-over-heels for the carousing Albrecht, only to later learn that Albrecht is betrothed to another, richer woman. This doesn’t turn out well for the crestfallen Giselle, who dies tragically. Nor is it a walk in the park for the foolhardy Albrecht, who – isn’t it always the way? – is condemned by a cabal of evil spirits to dance until he dies.
The role of Giselle will be danced by the frequent Neglia performer Silvina Vaccarelli, who hails from Argentina. Albrecht will be danced by company founder Sergio Neglia. “He is a complicated character,” Neglia said in a release. “At first his intention is to have some fun, but he falls in love with Giselle and causes this terrible tragedy. It really is heartbreaking.”
••• “Giselle” with Neglia Ballet and the BPO – Where: Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. When: 7:30 tonight. Tickets: $20 to $75. Info: 847-0850 or www.sheas.org.
Earlier this evening, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarzdelivered his first "State of the County" address in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The location he chose to deliver that speech, the cultural flagship of Western New York and one of the driving forces of the region's ongoing arts renaissance, speaks volumes about the county executive's understanding culture's importance to the identity of Western New York.
And what he said in the speech about the role of the arts here -- something that until very recently a local public would never have acknowledged to the extent Poloncarz did -- will be heartening to the dozens of cultural organizations who lobbied so hard for the demise of his predecessor:
The Albright Knox is just one example of the abundance of riches we have in Erie County including: nationally renowned museums; an amazing philharmonic orchestra; landmarks from architectural giants; and, a thriving theater scene other cities would love to have.
I believe investment in our arts and cultural assets should be no more optional than funding our parks, roads and bridges. Each one of these is an integral part of the infrastructure of our community; some are steel and concrete, others are body and mind. The resident doesn’t need to ‘use’ the arts any more than the need to use every single road or bridge or park supported by their tax dollars to derive a benefit from them thriving.
This is progress. Much more work remains to be done, including the creation of a more equitable approach to funding the county's cultural organizations, and making sure our region doesn't put the cart before the horse when it comes to cultural tourism. But compared to the state of cultural funding and government foresight in this region two years ago, things seem to be looking up.
Tod A. Kniazuk, executive director of the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, in his office in December, 2011. Photo by Robert Kirkham / Buffalo News.
In 2012, the the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, under the direction of Tod A. Kniazuk, has been working on a number of projects aimed at improving the health of the region's cultural vitality. It's tough work, but according to the organization's 2012 annual report, released this week, ASI (still in desperate need of a better name) has been making progress. Check the report out here.
On Sunday, my column about Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz's proposed 2013 budget appeared in The News. The budget includes increased funding for arts organizations but also a 3.4 percent property tax hike. On Monday, the county executive's communications and policy director Mark Cornell responded. And today, Halllwalls Contemporary Arts Center director and outspoken arts advocate Edmund Cardoni responded to Cornell's suggestion that the cultural community needs to continue to make an argument for why it deserves county funding.
Here's an excerpt of Cardoni's comment:
"...Speaking for myself and my fellow arts advocates (and, if I may, library supporters), we don't take anything for granted and understand full well that we need to go to bat for your budget with 100% effort, not only in the interest of our sector, but for the good of all the citizens of Erie County, because those of us who work in the arts and the individual artists for whom we advocate (most of whom are homeowners and taxpayers ourselves), our audiences and individual supporters, the children served by our arts education programs, and the owners of all the small businesses we patronize ourselves and help generate business for are ALL citizens of Erie County. It's a balanced budget, a compassionate budget, a responsible budget, and a budget that will keep Erie County's regional economic development moving forward. We support it all."
Today, I had a short conversation with Thomas Burrows, director of the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts. I called him to talk about LehrerDance's upcoming performance at the CFA as part of its M&T Bank Dance Series, but the conversation broadened -- as it often tends to do when Burrows is involved -- to the state of the series and of the center, as well as the state of dance and culture in the region at large. Here's what he had to say:
The final day of the 2012 Buffalo Infringement Festival, sadly, is upon us. If you still have any fuel left in your tank after yesterday's onslaught of Infringey activities, here are my five final picks for some Infringement activities to cap off the festival:
• Keith Michaud, seen below performing his song "The Ghost of New Orleans" a cover of John Prine's "Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)" outside Rust Belt Books on Friday afternoon, plays today at 2 p.m. outside Cafe Taza.
• Aside from Babushka!, the comedy duo that's been performing at Infringement for the past few years, there isn't an overwhelming amount of comedy at the fest. But today, you can catch members of Stand Up Buffalo performing at El Museo at 8 p.m.
On this, the penultimate day of the 2012 Buffalo Infringement Festival, in the neighborhood of 100 separate performances are slated for venues across the city. It's perhaps the busiest day of Infringement so far. If you need some help deciding what to do, here are my suggestions for the day:
• At Old Wondermoth, the Buffalo Contact Improvisation Jam Performance Group perfroms their show "Random Contact" from 12 to 1 p.m. Contact improv (of which you can see an example in this video at around the 3:58 mark) is a form of dance in which the participants' bodies are always touching in some way during the performance. Done well, it can be beautiful to watch.
• Also at noon at the Occupy Buffalo house, a whole host of bands will play for the Occupy Buffalo-sponsored "Anti Warped Tour," which also features art from the Occupy movement and other events/activities.
• I have it on good authority (that of "Incident at Deer Lick" author and performer Franklin LaVoie, if you must know), that Erin Bouvy's performance of "Knot… My Best Moments" is an absolute must-see. The piece is a clown show "for mature audiences," featuring burlesque, physical comedy and character intensive acting." The show runs at 5 p.m. today and 6 p.m. Sunday in El Museo.
• At 7 p.m. in Wasteland Studios, the Francis Bacon Experiment presents "420 the Musical," a project in development about which the word-of-mouth is quite good.
• The Buffalo Burlesque Collective, along with Jayme Coxx and The Bad Grils, presents "A Midsummer Night's Drag" at 7:45 in the Alt Theatre at the Warehouse. A trio of naughtily named hosts will "lead the audience through a mystical, hysterical and off-color version of the classic Shakespearean comedy."
Only three days of Infringement remain. If you haven't yet Infringed, the final weekend of the festival is jammed with hundreds of performances of every conceivable stripe. Here are just five of the many dozens of performances on the slate for today:
• One of the best parts of the Infringement Festival is the opportunity to encounter motley bands of eccentric artists and personalities wandering through the streets of Allentown. Today, an event that's been dubbed "Infringement on Parade" begins at 5 p.m. at Casa de Arte and Old Wondermoth and makes its way to various Allentown venues throughout the evening. From 6 to 9 p.m., you may also encounter members of "Artists and Cyclists," including the 12/8 Path Band, "artist tables and installations, recycled bicycle art and activities from GO Bike Buffalo."
• Starlight Studio, an organization dedicated to helping the developmentally disabled through the arts, will host its own opening at 7 p.m. The event will feature members of Starlight's art/poetry group "Monsters for Peace on Earth" -- captured at the end of this video in early July -- as well as readings of "Monsters for Peace"-themed works by Robin Brox and Geoffrey Gatza.
The halfway point of the 2012 Buffalo Infringement Festival has, lamentably, passed. But there's still plenty of time to get into the action, which is why I'm offering up five picks from among today's many Infringement Fest activities to put on your schedule:
• I don't know Ian McPhail and I've never been to Westside Stories, but I like the sound of McPhail's presentation: "Civilized Poetry." And at Infringement, appreciating the ring of something is as good a reason to check it out as any other. It doesn't hurt that McPhail's presentation, which gets started at 6 p.m., clocks in at a cool 15 minutes.
• Infringer extraordinaire MC Vendetta (a.k.a. Janna Willoughby-Lohr) promised me yesterday afternoon that her and Cat Sinclair's show "Dazzlingly Inappropriate" would live up to its title. Since I've never known her to be wrong, I strongly recommend heading to Rust Belt Books at 6:30 p.m. and leaving whatever delicate sensibilities you may have accidentally brought along at the door.
• After Ms. Sinclair has finished, there's no need to pick those sensibilities back up -- or to leave your seat at Rust Belt, for that matter -- because yet another willfully inappropriate event is set to follow suit in the very same space at 7:30. It has a title I'm not entirely sure is safe to print in a family newspaper, so I will merely link to it. Because that seems more polite.
• And because we're on a roll with the inappropriate suggestions, why not stop by El Museo at 9 p.m. to check out "Yes, I Am Staring At Your [Inappropriate Word] : The Un-Poetic Stylings of Velvet Al. This could either be wildly offensive or delightfully tongue-in-cheek. Only one way to find out.
• If poetry's isn't your thing, fear not: Music abounds on this the sixth day of Infringement. There are big to-dos at Broadway Joe's at 6, Slyboots at 8 and an electronic music night at the The Bend at 9, with slightly smaller affairs at the 9th Ward starting at 7 and Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar at 10 p.m.
A print by Anne Muntges on view during the Buffalo Book Fest on Saturday at the Western New York Book Arts Center.
There's no denying it now -- Infringement has kicked into high gear. Here are today's five best bets (about which I make no promises, and of which you should all feel free to dispute or ignore):
• The first Buffalo Book Fest, an event in which you can actually have you own print made with an actual steamroller, gets going at the Western New York Book Arts Center at 10 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. Check this out for more.
• I have no idea what the Triastedeit Theatre is, but I enjoy the work of Václav Havel, the accomplished essayist and playwright and former Czech president who died late last year. The company performs his one-act play "Audience" at 5 p.m. in Westside Stories at 205 Grant St.
• I could not in good conscience go a year without recommending a performance by master puppeteer Michele Costa, the gifted performer whose lovely and often sad vignettes on life in the city instantly transport the viewer to strange and enchanting places. This year, Costa performs her new story "symphony," the first performance of which takes place at 5 today in the sweaty back room of Rust Belt Books.
• There is probably no better way to end your day than by checking out the "Wham Bam Thank You Slam Part Deux," a jam-packed collection of poetry (slam and otherwise), burlesque performances and, as the kids say, sick beats. That starts at Nietzsche's at 9 p.m. and runs until 3 a.m.