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."
This afternoon, I caught Franklin LaVoie's performance of his story "Incident at Deer Lick" at the year-old West Side Stories used book store on Grant Street. He was kind enough to let me record it in full:
It's the eighth day of the 2012 Buffalo Infringement Festival, and things are heating up in Allentown. Check out my suggestions below, or wade through the official schedule. Either way, today's a good day to get out there and Infringe:
• Franklin LaVoie, the gifted artist and storyteller behind "Incident at Deer Lick" has also been giving a performance of three Celtic stories. You can check that out today at noon in Westside Stories. LaVoie will also present "Incident at Deer Lick" in the same venue at 5 p.m.
• Sticking with the storytelling theme, the five-minute short story open mic "Buffalore" is slated for 5 p.m. at Sp@ce 224.
• At 6 p.m., Montreal-based singer-songwriter Elgin Skye performs at Night House. Here's the description of her work from the Infringement website: "Elgin-Skye McLaren lives in Montreal where she writes poems, songs and lonely love letters. Armed with an electric guitar and a looping pedal, she plays lo-fi indie-pop with a style reminiscent of artists such as Regina Spektor, Bjork, and Braids. Elgin-Skye’s politeness and humble disposition betray her booming, buoyant voice. Her songs are thoughtful reflections on love, loss, and woodland creatures. Her sets may include, but are not limited to: clapping, whistling, cooing, singing, stomping."
• From 7 to 8 p.m., the Montrealers from Optative Theatre Laboratories presents "Car Stories," the Infringement show that started it all, near The Melting Point on Allen Street. If you haven't experienced this unorthodox style of theater -- in which the back set of the car is the theater and the front seat is the stage -- you can catch the show today, Friday or Saturday.
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...
Later this week, look for my Gusto story on the upcoming Infringement Festival, which runs in an estimated 72 venues from July 26 to Aug. 5. In the meantime, check out the festival's full (and very much subject-to-change) schedule, just posted at infringebuffalo.org.
Earlier this evening, members of Buffalo's cultural community dominated an hour-long public hearing of Buffalo Common Council. The cultural funding advocates, responding to a city budget that includes no funding for the arts, echoed and in many cases built upon the eloquent arguments of last year's Erie County cultural funding crisis.
Together, they made a strong collective case for the restoration of a small and stable level of funding to benefit the myriad cultural organizations within its limits. Buffalo cut the majority of arts funding out of its budget during the economic downturn that followed the Sept. 11 attacks and has not restored it since --though, after much haggling, it did provide emergency funding to arts groups during last year's county funding crisis.
Some highlights from the evening's remarks follow. (Please excuse the shaky camera work and note that most speakers or their organizations are members of the Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance.)
Vincent O’Neill takes part in the celebration of Charles Dickens and his works. Sharon Cantillon/News file photo
On the last international tour he took before his death, Charles Dickens stopped in Buffalo for two popular readings of his work. (His tour manager was terrified, according to his report of the trip, that a "rowdy element" of Western New Yorkers would overtake the affair, though it did not. Dickens himself was "much struck by the absence of female beauty from the readings.")
Since that visit -- researched and re-created by local actor, meteorologist and Dickens enthusiast Mike Randall for his annual performance of "A Christmas Carol" -- Western New York hasn’t let go of its appetite for the popular and prolific chronicler of Victorian society and its seedy underbelly.
This afternoon (March 25) at 2, prompted by the bicentenary of Dickens’ birth in February, a group of local actors will give a reading of Dickens’ works in the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.). The roster includes Megan Callahan, Morgan Chard, Wendy Hall, Jimmy Janowski, John Kaczorowski, Patrick Moltane, Vincent O’Neill, Adam Rath, Eric Rawski, Doug Weyand and Katie White. They’ll read excerpts from "The Pickwick Papers," "Oliver Twist," "David Copperfield," "Bleak House" and "Great Expectations."
The Small Press Book Fair returns to the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. Charles Lewis/News file photo
The presses themselves are small, sure, but the book fair that local artist and print shop manager Christopher Fritton founded to showcase them is anything but. Every year, as the small press movement grows and vendors seek spots for Fritton’s annual Small Press Book Fair, he is surprised at the speed with which the space runs out. And this year, to no one’s surprise, the record has been shattered again for the sixth annual event.
The fair runs from noon to 6 p.m. today (March 24) in the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum (453 Porter Ave.) and features tables from well over 100 individual artists and presses from across the region. Participants include local outfits like BlazeVOX, the University at Buffalo’s Poetry Collection and Sugar City and farther-flung organizations and artists, including Houston-based Night Owls Poster Shop, Toronto-based Broken Pencil magazine and Philadelphia’s Little Beast Press, among scads of others.
As in past years, the schedule includes a series of workshops on letterpress, screen-printing and other topics today. It’s also complemented by a post-fair party featuring music by Jack Toft, Energy Club, Damian, UVB-76 and others at the Vault (702 Main St.) at 9 tonight.
Give for Greatness Executive Director Megan Callahan speaks in June, 2011 in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Photo by Charles Lewis / The Buffalo News.
Give for Greatness, the fundraising and arts advocacy organization launched last year during the Erie County cultural funding crisis, is hosting its first Students for the Arts festival this afternoon in Kleinhans Music Hall.
The event, meant to highlight the organization's incipient mentorship program and to spread the word about its 2012 fundraising campaign, features work by G4G mentors Jennifer Fitzery, Cassondra Argeros, Patrick Moltane, Jill Greenberg, Jim Bush, Sarah Haykel and Marcus Wise and many local students. Representatives from 18 local cultural groups will also be on hand so local sutdents can learn more about the educational opportunities they offer.