October 1, 2013 - 10:58 PM
August 1, 2013 - 1:19 PM
The entertainment schedule for the Italian Festival, starting today, looks like fun.
Franco Corso, billed simply as "Italian singer," sounds intriguing. A few years ago he was described as covering the songs that Andrea Bocelli sings. If you are going to attempt anything remotely operatic you must have some pipes. Corso performs at 4:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday on the Frankie Scinta stage.
Singer Mike Costley, left, headlines at 8:45 tonight on the Frankie Scinta stage. He sang a few weeks ago as part of the Buffalo News Jazz at the Albright-Knox festival. I couldn't go and all I keep hearing is how good he was.
The Scintas, Las Vegas legends, headline on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on, you guessed it, the Frankie Scinta stage. This is a great opportunity to catch their act, free.
At 7:45 p.m. Sunday on the Frankie Scinta stage, catch venerable Buffalo rockers Junction West.
The Jazz Stage sounds good too. Bobby Militello plays there at 8 p.m. Friday.
And finally, tonight at 8 it's the Buffalo Rat Pack. Whoever they are, they sound like a highlight! And they'll only sound better with that plastic glass of Chianti.
Find other details of the Italian Festival -- including the Cooking Stage -- on the festival website.
July 30, 2013 - 8:00 AM
Today marks the sixth day of the Buffalo Infringement Festival. If you haven't ventured out into the streets and sampled at least a little taste of this citywide cultural phenomenon, today -- more than halfway through the festival -- is as good a time as any to do it.
Also, as of today, the official Iffy Awards box is now at Rust Belt Books, so if you've seen any Infringement acts you've particularly enjoyed, please feel free to scribble an invented award category and winner on a paper plate and drop it in the box. The Iffy Award ceremony takes place on Sunday, the last day of the festival, in Nietzsche's.
Here are some suggestions for today's leg of the fest:
• The one and only Tim Stentman (well, there are probably other Tim Stentmans, but this is the only one I know) performs his own poetry and short stories at 4:45 outside of Picasso Moon. Having seen a performance from his band Blue Lazer with his brothers Mike and Chris last year at the late and lamented Vault Arthouse, I can say that Mr. Stentman is a gifted performer, even though I cannot exactly vouch for the quality of his poetry or prose.
• Speaking of Blue Lazer, the band, whose slogan is "Blue Lazer will melt your face!" and whose frontman performs as an alien from another planet with a very convincing Arnold Schwarzenegger accent, will give a show at 10 p.m. in Milkie's. That show is part of the Sentman Spectacular, which also includes performances by the brothers Stentman in their separate muscial projects, the hilariously named Bolognatron and Dirty Couture.
• Babushka!, the comedy project of Don Gervasi and Todd Benzin, is an Infringement staple. I've seen these dudes perform, and they're hilarious. They're on tonight at 6:30 in El Museo and repeat on Wednesday at 7 to 8 in the same space. Check out this interview I did with the guys during last year's festival.
• A couple of very cool readings are taking place at Coming Home: The Gallery Next Door, starting at 7 tonight. They are "Prattletales," a spoken-word and poetry reading by the person who runs this fascinating blog and "Reading R. Crumb: A Memoir," descrbied cryptically as "an elaboration of the visual contexutalization of" the famous comix artist.
• I have been personally instructed in no uncertain terms not to miss, under any circumstances, tonight's performance of "Dazzlingly Inappropriate II: Double Dipping," featuring Infringement mainstay Janna Willoughby-Lohr and Cat Sinclair "doing and saying things that are dazzlingly inappropriate." It runs from 7 to 8 p.m. in Rust Belt Books. And judging from the last, incredibly moving reading that I saw Willoughby-Lohr give, it is likely to be an Infringement must-see.
April 8, 2012 - 7:00 AM
Easter is here and Buffalo is warming up for Dyngus Day. Like a giant, fat butter lamb, the Polish festival, which happens on Easter Monday, is getting bigger and bigger.
The Dyngus Day Parade begins at 5 p.m. Monday (April 9) in front of Corpus Christi Church, at the corner of Clark and Kent just east of the Broadway Market. The corner bars in the surrounding neighborhood will be hopping with polka music and even a singing bartender or two.
But why wait until then? The doors open today (April 8) at the Dyngus Day Millennium Hotel (2040 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga). At 7:30 p.m. Bishop Edward Grosz kicks off the festivities by blessing the instruments. After that, all heck breaks loose: John Valby sings his Dyngus Day Song, the Piatkowski Brothers play polkas, and Al Crew entertains from 10 p.m. until closing in the lounge.
On Monday (April 9), the hotel is rocking again, from 6 p.m. on into the night. Valby will be back, and you can also enjoy the stylings of Polka Family, Jimmy K and Ethnic Jazz and Joe & The Schmoes.
Admission either night is $10. For info on the Millennium Hotel, call (800) 323-3331.
For other events, check out www.dyngusdaybuffalo.com.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman
February 25, 2012 - 8:25 AM
The next Big Night is upon us. The popular monthly cross-cultural event, launched by Michael Kelleher and Aaron Lowinger in 2009 and presented by Just Buffalo Literary Center, Talking Leaves Books and the Western New York Book Arts Center, gets going at 8 p.m. today (Feb. 25) in the Book Arts Center (468 Washington St.).
The featured performer is Michael Basinski, curator of the University at Buffalo’s Poetry Collection and a prolific poet with many publications to his name, including "Trailers," "Poems Popeye Papyrus" and "Strange Things Begin to Happen When a Meteor Crashes in the Arizona Desert." The evening will also feature music by local composer, musician and Burchfield Penney Art Center curator Don Metz, who recently collaborated with Basinski on a music project called "Funginii."
The evening, as usual, will feature food from local chef and BlazeVOX books publisher Geoffrey Gatza. Admission is a cool $5, or $4 for members of Just Buffalo, WNYBAC and CEPA Gallery. More information
is at www.justbuffalo.org.
-- Colin Dabkowski
February 23, 2012 - 5:05 PM
Gene McCarthy's Tavern, the historic Irish pub on McCarthy Street in the Old First Ward, is changing hands just in time for the busy St. Patrick's Day season. That is the late Gene McCarthy himself pictured at left. McCarthy, who passed on last June, semi-retired in 2006, passing the tavern over to Gerhardt Yaskow in an elaborate and well-attended ceremony.
Now Yaskow is selling the tavern, to Bill Metzger, the publisher of the Brewing News. Bill is buying the pub with three partners.
The closing is Monday, Gerhardt reports, so on Sunday they are having a party. It starts at 4 p.m., with free roast beef sliders and other amenities. The address, just so you know, is 73 Hamburg St. As the pub appears in the phone book: "McCarthy Gene Tavrn 73 Hamburg."
Gerhardt's six years have been a great era for the picturesque tavern. He bought it not knowing exactly what he was getting into, and you could say that he -- and his sister Suzette -- have not only owned it, they husbanded it. They have done a wonderful job of looking out for the beer necessities (sorry, I could not help that). Once when I went there early on in his tenure, Gerhardt had just returned from a bingo supply shop in Clinton Street, buying balls for a game of chance. The originals had been tossed somehow, and regulars were frantic.
He has issued a statement: "Bill and his new partners will be there to introduce themselves to you this Sunday night, as we remain committed to support their future endeavors at our historic neighborhood pub, and finally, to wish them well in their important work going forward."
Surely Metzger's purchase will usher in another rich era. There is no doubt that the ale will keep flowing.
It is edifying to read about Gene McCarthy's and examine pictures on the Forgotten Buffalo website.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman
September 14, 2011 - 11:15 AM
The holiday season has begun!
Just this morning I heard the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's commercial hyping its Christmas show. You have probably heard it too. It is here to stay! We are going to be hearing that "Carol of the Bells" daily until Christmas. Matter of fact we will be hearing it after Christmas. The show is not until Dec. 27!
You definitely cannot beat this thing. So let's join it.
We surrender. It is Christmas!
Here is one creative video of "Carol of the Bells."
A person commenting on that video points out testily that the composer of "Carol of the Bells" was Mykola Leontovych. The actual name of the tune is "Shchedryk." That is good knowledge to be armed with when you go to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's concert! When they blast off with this song you may turn to your neighbor and say, "Ah, 'Shchedryk.'"
Here are the Muppets singing "Shchedryk." I am sitting here laughing at my desk!
The Vienna Choir Boys give us a traditional take.
Are you psyched yet for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra? If you're not yet, that's OK. You still have three months!
Meanwhile let's get started with that eggnog.
-- Mary Kunz Goldman
July 19, 2011 - 6:22 PM
His Cultural Walk of Fame, a sort of idiosyncratic tribute to some of Western New York's most interesting cultural exports, has been an curious fixture on a short stretch of Elmwood Avenue for the past several years. And last Friday, Griffasi and his organization, Cultural Concert International, added 10 new names to the sidewalk tribute.
They include the composer David Shire, Lucille Ball, dancer Tony DeMarco, actress Amanda Blake, television writer Tom Fontana, concert pianist Leonard Pennario, singer Rick James, philanthropist Seymour H. Knox, Jr.
I haven't been by yet to see if the suggestion I made last year -- for Griffasi to hire a copy editor to avoid the sorts of embarrassing mistakes that have appeared in past additions to the walk -- was taken to heart. But typos or no, the Cultural Walk is a welcome addition a busy pedestrian thoroughfare and a worthy tribute to the region's cultural heritage.
May 29, 2011 - 1:20 AM
My Spotlight story today about the resurgence of Black Rock takes a look at a recently flurry of activity on Amherst Street, from new restaurants like Mark Goldman's Black Rock Kitchen and Bar to popular arts venues like 464 Gallery. News photographer Bill Wippert took a ton of pictures of the burgeoning activity on the street, and I cobbled them together (along with interviews with Mark Goldman and Susan Cholewa) into this audio slideshow. Take a look!