Meet inveterate Infringer Janna Wlloughby-Lohr (aka MC Vendetta), who has been performing at the festival since its very first year in 2005. Since then, she's become a crucial organizer for the festival, all while performing poetry, dance, theater and a whole lot more besides. I caught up with her just after her performance with Euphraxia American Tribal Style Bellydance earlier this week at El Museo:
• At 5 p.m., the Hutchinson Family Revival, which caught my ear during Infringement last year (watch them sing "Hard Times Come Again No More" in this video), perform in Rust Belt Books.
• There will be a bunch of zombies hanging out from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. in the Tudor Lounge for a so-called Zombie Social, featuring music by Autoverse, ZFX and Kari Jo's Nightmare. The event, brought to you by the fine folks at Terror Technologies (motto: "We play dead so others may live."), will also raise money for charity.
• At 8 p.m. in Nietzsche's, members of Montreal's Optative Theatrical Laboratories -- creators of the original Infringement Festival -- present "Occupy Theatre!" The event and open mic, according to the Infringement site, will highlight "important activist performances from the Occupy movement and beyond."
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.
As part of the Infringement Festival, Torn Space Theater -- which never misses an excuse to branch out from its headquarters on Fillmore Avenue -- is mounting a production of the Leonid Andreyev play "He Who Gets Slapped" in the former Buffalo ReUse facility at 298 Northampton St., now the home of Net + Positive and soon to become a shared artisan workspace. A writeup will follow, but for now I will post this slightly out-of-focus and hastily edited but nonethless interesting video interview with the play's director, Megan Callahan, and its star, Chris Corporandy.
Throughout the rest of the fest, I'll periodically be taping interviews with Infingement regulars (and other random artists) as part of a little series I've decided to call "Better Know an Infringer." For the first one, meet longtime Infringement participant and organizer Leslie Fineberg, who I spoke to just after her performance today with Euphraxia and Metamorphosis American Tribal Style Bellydance outside of El Museo:
Gerry Maher and Chris Corporandy in Torn Space Theater's production of "He Who Gets Slapped," part of the 2012 Buffalo Infringement Festiva. Photo by Lukia Costello.
You might think the Monday after the first weekend of the Infringement Festival, a swirling bacchanal of activity in venues large and small across the city, would be a little slow. But you'd be wrong. On the fifth day of Infringement, there's more than enough to keep the aspiring Infringer fully engaged. Here's are today's recommendations:
• Torn Space Theater, one of Western New York's most accomplished experimental theater companies, presents "He Who Gets Slapped," Leonid Andreyev's play in which a writer takes a job as a circus performer in an attempt to get away from his sordid past. Tonight's performance is at 8 in The Foundry, a performance space in the former headquarters of Buffalo ReUse at 298 Northampton St.
• Rust Belt Books hosts the Living Poets Society, a kind of poetry/music open night including "Spoken Word , Sound poets, Visual and Concrete poetry, as well as numerous musical arrangements whether it be guitars, harmonicas or drum circles." That gets started at 7 p.m. and runs until about 9.
Anyone looking for a glimpse into Infringement should check out the Flickr photostream of Infringment organizer Dave Pape, who takes thousands of shots during each festival and posts them up daily. Here's a sample of three pics from the last two days:
A performer eats fire on Satuday night in Allentown:
Buffalo Infringement co-founder Kurt Scneiderman dances during the West African dance and drum inclusive performance on Saturday in the Alt Theatre at the Warehouse:
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.
Tonight there's plenty of action happening in the Infringement Festival's non-Allentown outposts (not to say Allentown itself isn't hopping like mad with Infringement activities), including Main (St)udios, The Vault, Wasteland Studios and Filigree's. After checking out the very cool, extremely funny "Reader's Theater" at Burning Books, I took a short tour of the first three of those venues. Here a little of what I saw:
Above, artist Tara Sasiadek paints the face of Nicole Kujawski outside Main (St)udios, where a small crowd was gathered as the evening's art opening wound down. This space is also the site of a recently completed mural that's been turning heads in the up-and-coming neighborhood on Main Street.
After that I headed to Wasteland Studios, where I encountered this magnificent piece of homemade couture...