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Critics' Corner live video chat

The Critics' Corner video chat returned today with Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers answering your questions about movies, TV, music and more.

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Critics Corner Chat with Jeff Simon at 1 p.m.

News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers -- who will still conduct his regular Miers on Music chat at noon Friday -- will be back alongside Jeff Simon next week at 2 p.m. when the Critics Corner video chat returns. Today, Simon is conducting a traditional live chat on his own.

Critics Corner chat with News Arts Editor Jeff Simon at 2 p.m.

News Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers -- who will still conduct his regular Miers on Music chat at noon Friday -- will be back alongside Jeff Simon next week when the Critics Corner video chat returns. Today, Simon is conducting a traditional live chat on his own.

Review video chat with Simon, Miers

News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers hosted a traditional live chat before answering your questions directly into the camera. Review the chat below:


Download the audio and take it with you
NOTE: Due to technical problems, the podcast cuts off near the 20-minute mark.

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Fiddlin' the day away

Take time out of your busy schedule to watch a bunch of baby violinists grooving their way through "Buffalo Gals."  See if this does not brighten your day.

And these kids are not even from Buffalo!

This video comes to us courtesy of the superlative fiddler Mark O'Connor. The teacher, as I understand it, is affiliated with his Allegheny Mountain Strings Project. O'Connor, let's remember, is no stranger to Buffalo himself. I will always remember when he played a couple of years ago with the Orchard Park Symphony. It was a lot of fun to have this star in our midst and O'Connor played a terrific show featuring his own vivacious and charming Fiddle Concerto.

I like what a team player O'Connor is. He works so hard organizing efforts to teach kids to play the violin, as the video up above shows, and also he seems to spend a lot of time traveling the byways of America. The show with the Orchard Park Symphony appears to be typical. He seems to play a lot with smaller ensembles, community groups, kids' orchestras.

And it's funny, he is not especially eager to claim the starring role. Roaming the Internet just now I found this video of O'Connor playing the beautiful "Ashokan Farewell" with a group of other distinguished musicians. The "Ashokan Farewell" is the poignant waltz that accompanied the Ken Burns series on the Civil War. I love this performance for its collaborative spirit. No one is grandstanding. O'Connor is the handsome dude with the mustache, third from the left. You do not see him until the music gets under way.

It is easy to fiddle your whole day away! As if you have all the time in the world.

There is something about this music that shoots your work ethic!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

 

Review live chat with Simon, Kunz Goldman

News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Classical Music Critic/Buzz Columnist Mary Kunz Goldman hosted a live chat before shifting in front of the camera. Please excuse the first four minutes of silence when the audio wasn't working due to technical difficulties.

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Review video chat with Simon, Kunz Goldman

News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Classical Music Critic/Buzz Columnist Mary Kunz Goldman hosted a traditional live chat earlier today before shifting in front of the camera and continuing to answer your questions live.


Download podcast of chat

Review video chat with Simon, Miers

News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers hosted their weekly live chat at noon today. At 12:30 p.m. they shifted in front of the camera and continued to answer your questions live.

Podcast of video chat:


Download the audio and take it with you

New names added to 'Cultural Walk of Fame'

Charles Griffasi, the indefatigable arts advocate and community event organizer who has put his stamp dozens of cultural festivals and initiatives over the past half-century, is at it again.

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.

--Colin Dabkowski

Review live chat with Simon and Miers

News Arts Editor Jeff Simon and Pop Music Critic Jeff Miers hosted their weekly live chat at noon today. At 12:30 p.m. they shifted in front of the camera and continue to answer your questions live.

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