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Infringement Daily Planner: Day 3

Squeaky Wheel's 10th annual Outdoor Animation Festival comes to Days Park tonight at 8:30 p.m.

The amount of activity happening during this, the third day of the Buffalo Infringement Festival, absolutely boggles the mind. Just straight-up boggles it, for real.

You might have as much fun throwing any kind of predetermined plan out the window in favor of wandering aimlessly around Allentown and following the omnipresent Infringement vibe wherever it may lead you. But if you're the think-ahead type, here are five of many dozens of activities that will likely be worth your while today:

Continue reading "Infringement Daily Planner: Day 3" »

Infringement Daily Planner: Day 2

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The 8BitBuffalo collective will have its opening tonight in The Foundry.

The first day of the Buffalo Infringement Festival is behind us, and with all its unexpected encounters with utter weirdness, our appetites have been whet. The weekend days of the festival are always the busiest, and today is no exception. Below are my very subjective picks for the day, but make sure to visit the Infringement site for the day's epic schedule in case you want to come up with your own.

• At noon, an artist known as that rapper named d performs a set of socially conscious hip hop at Filigree's, the Infringement uber-venue run by festival veteran and hula-hooper extraordinaire Melissa Campbell. This guy, a presence in and around the Occupy Buffalo movement made a strong impression during an Infringement preview event a few weeks ago and he'll likely do the same today.

• Today is huge for Infringey art openings, perhaps the most hotly anticipated of which is the "8 Bit Bonanza" at The Foundry, a very cool arts space in a warehouse on Northampton Street on the East Side. The show, in addition to putting the spotlight on a number of local bands, will feature the work of the 8BitBuffalo collective, described tantalizingly as "a group of artists, both digital and traditional who, in a combination of tribute and nostalgia address the themes and aesthetics of classic (circa 1985) video games." Things get started at 7 and run through midnight.

• If video game-inspired art isn't your thing, use the opportunity to check out the opening of a new gallery next door to a new shop called Coming Home Buffalo at 138 Elmwood Ave. In addition to a series of performances from the likes of Sparklebomb and A Glitch in the Circle of Life, the space will feature work from an eclectic collection of underground artists that will remain on view throughout the festival.

Pete Sorkin, one of my favorite finds from last year's festival (here he is playing his hilarious original tune "The Residential Treatment Facility Blues") has a 6 p.m. set at the Essex Street Pub. More than worth checking out, and checking out again when he plays at various times during the rest of the fest.

• Hilarity is pretty much a sure thing during The Hotshot Whiz Kids Podcast Live event, scheduled for 6 p.m. in the back room of Rust Belt Books, which, fair warning, tends to be stuffy. (In the humid sense, not in the artsy-fartsy sense.) The Whiz Kids bill themselves as Buffalos number one comedy podcast, and their live show will feature a slate of experienced Buffalo stand-up comics. They'll record another live podcast at the same time on Saturday.

Feel free to drop your own suggestions in the comment section, and come back throughout the day (starting in the afternoon) for updates, photos and videos from day 2. Happy Infringement one and all.

--Colin Dabkowski

Infringement Daily Planner: Day 1

Today is the first day of the 8th annual Buffalo Infringement Festival, a city-wide event that showcases the vast creative underground of this region and gives local artists a chance to showcase their work. Every day in this space, we'll be listing five recommended activities. But the festival is so vast -- with hundreds of performances, theater productions, visual art shows and street parties to choose from -- that you should also check out the full schedule at Infringebuffalo.org.

Here are today's picks:

A stretch of sidewalk in front of the Antique Man shop at 234 Allen St. will become a stage for the amorphous Infringement Busking Collective, an eclectic group of musicians and other performers who will serenade pedestrians with a series of performances ranging from straight-ahead acoustic guitar performances to experimental noise rock. (This performance from the 2011 festival, for instance, was one of the latter.) The collective performs from 12 to 6 p.m. today and returns on Friday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and next Thursday.

Anyone who has not experienced the true weirdness of Infringement might want to amble past Picasso Moon at the western edge of Allen Street between 7:30 and 8 p.m. tonight. There, they'll be able to catch an artist by the name of Andrew Biggie mounting a strange bit of performance art. Here is the show's very Infringey, very cryptic description: "Attempts to find stillness. Images of death, and reoccurring dreams hum open. They discuss duality as I lose friends. I fill my head with teenage junk. I will sing on sidewalks rearranging mundane rituals and become a plastic bag." OK, then.

I have not yet seen the Slyboots Drum Ensemble, but word on the street is that they are unmissable. It's made up of students from Buffalo's Slyboots School of Music, Art and Dance and promises a "powerful showcase of complex rhythms from around the world and infectious grooves that force your body to move." You can catch the first of many Infringement performances from the ensemble at Old Wondermoth, otherwise known as the Nickel City Co-op, at 208 North St.

The Slyboots ensemble will join the Infringement Festival Opening Parade, a sure-to-be-strange group of pot-banging, kazoo-playing, ridiculously costumed Infringers which will make its way from Old Wondermoth into the center of Allentown (and possibly back again) sometime between 6:30 and 8 p.m. It's a perfectly strange way to kick off the festival.

Today's absolute not-to-be-missed event is, as usual, the Infringement Festival Open Ceremonies, which get started in Nietzsche's at 7 p.m. and runs into the wee hours. The $5 show features a roster of 12 Buffalo bands and is a good chance to meet and hang out with Infringers from around the city.

Follow my Infringement coverage here and at @colindabkowski.

--Colin Dabkowski

The Gusto Blog is Infringement central through Aug. 4

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Buffalo beat-boxer Scantron will give several performances during this year's Infringement Festival.

On Thursday, the weird, wacky and altogehter unpredictable Buffalo Infringement Festival kicks off its 11-day run. For the length of Infringement, keep your browsers pointed to this blog, which will host a daily Infringement planner, reviews, video interviews, commentary and, hopefully, some pointed opinions from Infrgers and audience members.

(Check out last year's bloggy Infringement coverage for an idea of what to expect.)

Also, I can't stress strongly enough that this is meant to be a space for community discussion and engagement, so please don't hesitate to chime in about your favorite Infringement acts, or to disagree with me, or to offer up any kind of Infringey opinions or information. You can do that in the comment section at the end of each post, or you can find me on Twitter at @colindabkowski. (In past years, engagement from Infringementgoers and blog readers hasn't been as high as I'd like, so it would be extra-awesome if we could get a bigger and better conversation going on the blog this year.)

Also, be sure to follow the official @infringebuffalo Twitter feed for updates throughout the festival.

Come back tomrrow morning for the first list of Infringement recommendations, a new grouping of which will be posted every morning until the festival winds down on Aug. 4. Happy Infringement!

--Colin Dabkowski

Forty-five minutes with Kevin Cain

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Kevin Cain, former director of The Vault, in a portrait by local artist Julian Montague. (Photo courtesy of Montague)

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with local musician, artist and curator Kevin Cain to talk about the closure of The Vault. That Main Street art space, which shut down at the end of June, gained a reputation as an indie art and music hot spot in its four brief years of existence.

During our talk, Cain's thoughts ranged into some fascinating areas that I wasn't able to include in 18 column inches, so I'm posting the audio of our conversation below for anyone who's interested. Cain had some important things to say about the direction of development in the city, the nature of creative art spaces like the one he ran and just what makes Buffalo's art scene and its underground tick. Here he is:

--Colin Dabkowski

LehrerDance returns to Center for the Arts dance series

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Buffalo's LehrerDance will perform as part of the UB Center for the Arts' 2013-13 dance series.

The University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts released its 2013-14 M&T Bank Dance Series on Thursday. Here's the lineup:

LehrerDance, Saturday, Oct. 5

The Shanghai Ballet in "The Butterfly Lovers," Saturday, Oct. 19

Tango Fire, Saturday, Nov. 2

Limón Dance Company, April 4, 2013

Moscow Festival Ballet in "Don Quixote," Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Buffalo awards grants to cultural groups

Today, at long last, the City of Buffalo annouced a series of grants from its newly established $200,000 cultural and anti-violence fund that it had been slow to release. Here is the list:

Organization

Program Name

Awarded

100 Mighty Men Ministry

Mighty Men Street Clean Up & Peace Initiative

$1,000

African Cultural Center of Buffalo, Inc.

Educational Cultural Enrichment

$7,500

Alleyway Theatre Inc.

2013-14 Season of Live Theatre

$4,000

Back To Basics Outreach Ministries, Inc.

Youth Strengthening Program

$7,500

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens Society, Inc.

Project Empower

$2,500

Buffalo Arts Studio

General Operating Support

$5,000

Buffalo Christian Center

The Merge

$5,000

Buffalo Fine Arts Academy / Albright-Knox Art Gallery

2013 Art Alive!

$2,500

Buffalo Inner City Ballet

Dance Enrichment Program

$5,000

Buffalo Music Hall of Fame

Comprehensive Music Database and Archival Project

$2,500

Buffalo Naval Park Committee, Inc.

Inner City Overnight Program

$1,000

Buffalo Niagara Concert Band, Inc.

USS Little Rock Summer Concert

$1,000

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

Celebration of Music

$2,500

Buffalo United front, Inc.

Family Fishing Day 2013

$5,000

Burchfield Penney Art Center

Tours & Art Education Workshops

$2,500

Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Art, Inc. (CEPA)

CEPA Gallery/Big Orbit Gallery Merger

$2,500

Central Terminal Restoration Corp

Bricklayers & Allied Crafts Workers Local 3 and Job Corps Security Remediation

$4,000

Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo, NY, Inc.

Queen City Jazz Festival

$5,000

Community Action Organization    of Erie County Inc.

Sports P.L.U.S.

$7,500

Community Music School of Buffalo

Outreach Concert Series

$2,500

El Museo Francisco Oller y Diego Rivera, Inc.

Visual Arts Exhibitions for Artists of Color

$5,000

GIRLS Sports Foundation, Inc.

GSF/ NICYO 2013 Slam Jam & Cultural Expo

$2,500

H.E.A.L. International

H.E.A.L. Weekend Recreation Program

$4,000

Hallwalls, Inc. (Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center)

Year-Round Public Cultural Programing in the Contemporary Arts

$5,000

Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY

Hispanic Heritage Month Main Event - Restauracion Cultural

$5,000

Irish Classical Theatre company, Inc.

General Operating Support

$2,500

Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy

Cultural Preservation

$2,500

Juneteenth Festival Inc.

Sankofa Days

$5,000

Just Buffalo Literary Center

Babel

$5,000

Latin American Cultural Association, Inc.

Cultural Extension

$2,500

Mad DADS of Greater Buffalo

Youth Basketball

$5,000

Martin House Restoration Corporation (MHRC)

General Operating Activities

$2,500

Metro CDC Delavan Grider Community Center

Nonviolence for Youth Program - "Acting In"

$7,500

Michigan Street Preservation Corp.

Nash House Museum

$5,000

Music is Art

Music is Art Festival

$2,500

National Inner Cities Youth Opportunities, Inc. (NICYO)

Safe Structured Youth Sports

$7,500

New Phoenix Theatre on the Park

Pay-What-You-Can Thursday Performance Series - lower West Side Johnson Park Neighborhood Revitalization

$2,500

People United for Sustainable Housing

Grant Street Neighborhood Center

$5,000

Road Less Traveled Productions

Ongoing Organizational Programming

$2,000

Shakespeare In Delaware Park, Inc.

Shakespeare In Delaware Park

$2,500

Squeaky Wheel / Buffalo Media Resources

Youth Education Programs

$2,500

Stop The Violence Coalition, Inc.

Youth Intervention Project

$7,500

The Friends of Vienna

Three Chamber Music Concerts

$1,000

The National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, Inc.

First Time/Last Time Program

$7,500

The Western New York Artists Group

General Programing

$2,500

Theatre of Youth Company, Inc.

School Children Access Program

$5,000

Torn Space Theater

Main Stage Production Activity

$2,500

Tru-way Community Center, Inc.

Tru-way Community Center, Inc.

$2,000

Ujima Company, Inc.

General Operating Support

$5,000

Western NY Book Arts Collaborative

Free Family Workshops

$2,500

Young Audiences of WNY, Inc.

Out of School Time Programs

$5,000

 

Total Amount

$200,000

The full press release from the city is here.

--Colin Dabkowski

'Giselle' at 7:30 tonight in Shea's

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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.

--Colin Dabkowski

Culture takes center stage in Poloncarz address

Earlier this evening, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz delivered 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.

--Colin Dabkowski

 

ASI releases its annual report

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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.

--Colin Dabkowski

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