The City of Buffalo, under pressure from arts organizations to deliver on its promise of funding for cultural and anti-violence groups, released its long-delayed funding application this week. The city has given groups until April 5 to apply for the funding. Here's a copy of the application, which lays out the city's requirements for applicants.
According to Arts Services Initiative Executive Director Tod A. Kniazuk, the city did not send the application out to all eligible organziations. Kniazuk also said that the city will not employ the inordinately useful Cultural Data Project, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts specifically designed for situations like the current funding delay at City Hall and to depoliticize the cultural funding process.
ASI is sending the application out to all eligible groups today.
"So, there you have it," Kniazuk wrote in an email. "A two week turnaround for the organizations who were
lucky enough to find out about it."
Buffalo is getting some major love from Toronto this week, as a storefront performance space and cinema in the city's Kensington Market neighborhood hosts a series of events designed to highlight the artistic output of Toronto's "oft-maligned sister city."
The organization's "Beautiful Buffalo Week" kicked off Monday with a reading of two plays by the gifted Buffalo-based playwright Neil Wechsler. He read from his new play "The Brown Bull of Cuailnge" and from his acclaimed drama "Grenadine," last seen here in a Road Less Traveled Theatre production in 2009.
Up next is an event called "Buffalo Hates You Too" -- after the cheeky slogan invented by Western New York Book Arts Center founder Richard Kegler -- on Thursday night at 8. The screening, curated by artist and designer Julian Montague and Squeaky Wheel Director Jax Deluca, will feature work by various Buffalo-based video and new media artists.
The celebration culminates on Friday with a conversation between Montague and Joshua Babcock and Cristina Naccarato of Toronto's art collective Broken City Lab at 7:30 p.m. Here's the description for that event, which sounds well worth the trip across the border: "Videofag
is excited to be hosting these three artists in discussion on the ways
in which artists cities with an abundance of space - specifically in
so-called 'North American Rustbelt' - are innovating new functions for
disused buildings/public spaces, and in the process reinventing the
possibilities of neighbourhoods, community, and the artist's role within
a city. Specific examples will be drawn from BCL's own repurposing of
Windsor storefronts and empty ad space on city transit."
Look for my take on the program in Sunday's paper.
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.
It reminds me of what I have heard about the folk revivals in the 1950s and '60s when people would go looking for these old blues musicians who may or may not be dead. They found Tampa Red -- once known as "The Guitar Wizard" -- working as a janitor in a nursing home, if I remember correctly. They found Big Bill Broonzy in some similar circumstance.
Thinking of those old blues legends, I often wondered how that felt to them, being rediscovered after all these years. They thought their careers were over, now they were touring again, playing on college campuses to all these white kids who were listening rapt. Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, all these old guys, suddenly experiencing this renaissance.
As in "Searching For Sugar Man," it's great when it happens when these old guys -- or gals -- are still alive.
Here is John Hurt at Oberlin College in 1965. He had been rediscovered at 71, when he had not sung in 30 years. He died about a year after he made this recording. This is one of those sweet naughty old blues songs and it is fun to hear him clowning around with the kids. If you listen closely you can hear one of them yell out, "Candyman!" right before he starts the song.
Screenwriter, producer, director, author, comedian and actor (best known as "Silent Bob") Kevin Smith will head to the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts (North Campus, Amherst) for a talk and Q&A session at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7.
Tickets are $39.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 26 through the Center for the Arts box office, online at www.tickets.com or charge by phone at (888) 223-6000.
For more information, call 645-ARTS (2787) or visit www.ubcfa.org.
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.