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by Cory Perla, Jon Wheelock, Leigh Giangreco
13 performers and performances to look out for
An “infringement” is a violation. The word “infringe” also means to break off. Buffalo’s Infringement Festival is a place for artists to go to break off from the mainstream, to do something totally unauthorized, to trespass on preconceived notions. There is no sponsoring authority, no one telling these artists what they can and cannot do. There is no entity looming about to demand a safety net under this high-wire act.
With more than 800 performances, hundreds of artists, and more than a dozen film screenings, this is the largest Infringement Festival to date.
Below are a few of the performances that we are looking forward to the most. But there is lots more: For more information, consult the handy pullout guide in this week's print edition of Artvoice (download a PDF version here) or visit infringebuffalo.org.
Infringement Festival Kickoff
Thursday, July 26, 7pm; Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen Street.
The Infringement Festival does not discriminate. To perform at this monument to art and music in Buffalo one must only have a performance in mind and submit an application on time. That is exciting because it means that the audience can never quite know what they’re in for when an artist takes the stage. If you don’t know by now, the Infringement Festival is an 11-day long festival that happens during the heart of summer in Buffalo. Local musicians, poets, digital artists, dance companies, media artists, comics, and people working in all artistic media come together to make art on the street or in the club that pushes boundaries and explores uncharted territory.
On Thursday, July 26 the 2012 Infringement Festival kicks off at Nietzsche’s in Allentown with a lineup that reflects the variety of artistic expression typical for this one-of-a-kind festival. The show will begin with the Wham Bam Poetry Troupe, followed by visual artist VJ Deliria, electro rock group Quest for Friends, experimental musician Eppo, the Buffalo Burlesque Collective, Mike Dwan, Noah Gokey and the Skulls, world musicians Clandestina y La Raza Cosmica, indie rockers In Your Hand, Chris Real, and Cincinnati-based crunk-punk group Lazy Ass Destroyer. Put these “under-the-radar” artists on your radar.
Bul Bul Tarang Gang
Friday, July 27; Babeville’s Ninth Ward (341 Delaware Avenue). Saturday, July 28; The Vault (700 Main Street).
Bul Bul Tarang Gang will perform live on Friday, July 27 at Babeville’s Ninth Ward with After Hours and Will Folk for Food, and then again on Saturday, July 28 at the Vault with Pam Swarts and Sound Without. We spoke with Ravi Padmanabha about his new group.
Artvoice: Tell me a little bit about this project, Bul Bul Tarang Gang.
Ravi Padmanabha: This is a newer group. The instrument I play on stage is called a bul bul tarang. It’s like an Indian banjo, so it is a totally different thing than the Sitar Jams. The group usually varies between five and six people. The full band can’t make it but I have my brothers Aneal and Naryan, who are also in Sitar Jams with me, and then I have Michael McNeill on harmonium, Ed Klavoon on acoustic bass, and Bill Conroy on percussion. My brothers play percussion in this group as well, which is kind of a nice switch because in Sitar Jams they’re the string players and I’m the drummer. It’s like a role reversal.
AV: Do you like moving around on stage like that? What is your instrument of choice?
RP: Oh, my favorite instrument is always percussion. Even though in this Bul Bul Tarang group I play this stringed, Indian banjo-type of instrument, later in the set I always end up playing drums because I love the drums. I consider myself primarily a drummer. I think moving around on stage like that really keeps things fresh. Everyone can have a different perspective, especially when a string player starts playing percussion. They approach it differently than a drummer would.
AV: How does the music of Bul Bul Tarang Gang compare to your other group, Family Funktion and the Sitar Jams?
RP: We have different instruments so it’s definitely not funky like Sitar Jams. It’s more like ritual Indian folk music with some avant garde elements added. We play traditional Indian tunes, but we do it a little differently by adding some experimental aspects in there.
AV: Why did you choose to do Bul Bul instead of the Sitar Jams at this Infringement Festival?
RP: [Laughing] I was told that the Sitar Jams are not “infringey enough.” This is something I’ve been doing for a little while but I don’t usually get this group out too often and I thought that Infringement would be a good chance to get us out.
AV: What is your favorite part about the festival?
RP: I think the best thing is that pretty much anything goes, as far as music acts and instillations. Anybody and everybody gets a chance to play and there are no rules or guidelines. To me that is the best part.
He Who Gets Slapped
July 27-28, July 30-August 1, August 3-5. All performances at 8pm; The Foundry, 298 Northampton Street.
Do the words “obscure expressionistic Russian play” pique your interest? If so, Leonid Andreyev’s He Who Gets Slapped is the play for you. Directed by Megan Callahan and featuring Christopher Corporandy, Bonnie Jean Taylor, Diane Gaidry, Gerry Maher, Kevin Craig, Bob Bozek, Leigh Allen, and Leonard Ziolkowski, this performance tells the story of a famous writer who becomes a circus clown in order to escape his past. Among the outcasts of this circus, the main character experiences a struggle to exist in a world ruled by fate, chance, and money. He Who Gets Slapped is produced by Torn Space Theater as part of the 2012 Buffalo Infringement Festival.
Friday, July 27, 1-3pm; Saturday, July 28, 4:30-6:30pm; Saturday, August 4, 4:30-5:30pm; Alt Theatre at 255 Great Arrow Avenue; Admission is $3 per person or two for $5.
It’s really not that uncommon to come across a rogue hula hoop on Allen Street. On an ordinary day in the bohemian neighborhood you can probably find someone swishing near Nietzsche’s or near El Buen Amigo.
But during Infringement Festival you’ll be sure to find some troupe of hula hoop fanatics right inside the Alt Theatre at 255 Great Arrow Avenue, where Hoopnosis will teach the fundamental concepts of hula hooping. Hoopnosis, a handcrafted hula hoop business based in Buffalo—they even do customized hoop fittings—encourages the health benefits and fun of this simple toy. Maria Rola, the founder of Hoopnosis, is also an EMT-certified glow and fire performer.
Friday, July 27, 10pm-3am; Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen Street; $5/$3 in costume.
Swab the decks at Nietzsche’s Friday, July 27, in your best pirate garb for a party that is sure to deliver a swashbuckling good time. Best dressed will be judged by the “secret adversariest.” Performers include Ginger James, RONALDRAYGUN, Sparky (who will sing a song), Chester Copperpot, and Randle and the Late Night Scandals.
Buffablog Rooftop Extravaganza
Saturday, July 28; Roof of the Broadway Market, 999 Broadway Street.
There have been a few notable rooftop concerts in music history. First there was the Beatles final performance, which took place on the roof of Apple Studios in London on January 30, 1969, and then there was the performance of Homer Simpson’s barbershop quartet, the B-Sharps, atop Moe’s Tavern in 1993.
Okay, so maybe the second one didn’t actually happen, but that just leaves more room for another epic rooftop concert: Buffablog’s Rooftop Extravaganza. Six bands—Handsome Jack, Victory For Poland, Sleepy Hahas, Merchants, Trakbenders, and the Albrights—will climb to the top of the Broadway Market on Saturday, July 28 for a special event that could only be called an extravaganza.
Wham Blam Thank You Slam II
Saturday, July 28, 9pm; Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen Street.
One of the most talked-about shows at BIF 2011 returns as Wham Bam Thank You Slam II takes over Nietzsche’s for a night of burlesque, poetry, music, and downright debauchery. The jam-packed lineup features musical performances from Buffalo’s ambient ambassador DJ Soma, white-girl phenom MC Vendetta, and the hip-hop/funk flavor courtesy of Mic Excel and the Essential Vitamins Crew.
Holding it down for the versifiers are a group of Infringement poets working under the moniker of the Wham Bam Poetry Troupe, as well as short fiction and poetry from Tim Sentman, and MC/screenwriter/slam poet/musician/street performer Lazyrus. Things get raunchy as the dollar bills start to fly when cabaret-style burlesque foursome the Hell’s Harlots hit the stage, along with the lovely ladies of the Buffalo Burlesque Collective.
Saturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29; Broadway Joe’s, 3051 Main Street, and Tudor Lounge, 335 Franklin Street.
Brooklyn-based outfit Manawi Thorn is geared up to drop some math-rock logic at this year’s BIF, with performances at Broadway Joe’s on Saturday, July 28 and the Tudor Lounge on Sunday, July 29. A blend of 1990s hard rock and metal, Manawi Thorn starts where bands like the Melvins, Soundgarden, and the Jesus Lizard left off and pushes the neo-prog envelope into the 21st century. Expect some intricate drumwork, complex vocals, and live guitar sampling as the band shows off their technical prowess.
10th Annual College Street Block Party
Sunday, July 2, 1pm-8:30pm; Corner of Allen and College Streets.
Everyone loves a block party, and when the block in question happens to be the corner of Allen and College Street, you can expect the party to dish out a healthy serving of what BIF is all about. Infringement-goers and Allentown residents converge Sunday, July 29, for the 10th annual College Street Block Party, an all-day outdoor congregation of live music and street art put on by College Street Gallery owner Mike Mulley. Musical acts include Poindexter (2pm), Ball Cheese Psychotics (3pm), Shubbaluliuma (4pm), Logo City (5pm), Ramforinkus (6:15pm), and Buffalo mainstays Peanut Brittle Satellite (pictured; 7:30pm). Big thanks once again to Allentown Music for providing the backline and PA for this year’s festivities. Donations of food, drinks, and/or money are welcome.
Tuesday, July 31, 9pm; The Bend (256 Allen Street). Electronic Night at Soundlab - Friday, August 3, 9pm; Soundlab (110 Pearl Street).
This isn’t your typical mainstream “barfsplosion” Electronic Dance Music (to steal the recent words of EDM producer Dan Snaith) this is the real deal. The first round of electronic music begins on Tuesday, July 31 at the Bend with DJ/producers Short Circuit, Braceface, Space Cubs and more. The second round is on Friday, August 3 at Soundlab with DJ Soma, Mario Be, Love Scenes, JeffRepeater, TrakBenders and more.
420: The Musical
Friday, August 3, 7pm; Saturday, August 4, 7pm; Wasteland Studios, 700 Main Street, second floor.
Comedy is an art and the Francis Bacon Experiment has mastered it. The Buffalo-based improv comedy troupe will present their latest masterpiece at this year’s Infringement Festival: 420: The Musical. Now I’m not sure exactly what this musical is about, but I’m guessing it has something to do with math, or the coming of the spring season or…
Just kidding, it’s obviously about pot. This “lighthearted adult comedy” follows a young man who is confused about his place in the world. I’m guessing there are a few young people out there who can relate.
Saturday, August 4, noon-8pm; Occupy Buffalo House, 17 Southampton Street.
Maybe you were disappointed by the Van’s Warped Tour line-up this year, or maybe you’ve been disappointed by it for the past five years. Who needs a giant, roaming, corporation-sponsored festival of bands you’ve never heard of when you can check out the Anti-Warped Tour, a free festival, concert, and block party featuring more than 20 local bands including the Steakouts, B-Side Basterds, Murder City Outlaws, Sleepless City, the Crack Horse, Radical Operations, and many more at the Occupy Buffalo House.
Like the Warped Tour, the Anti-Warped Tour will feature mostly punk and ska but there will also be some hip-hop, rap, metal, hardcore, pop, and reggae thrown in for good measure.
Bourbon and Coffee
Friday, Jul 27, 7:308:45pm; Sp@ce 224 (224 Allen Street). Saturday, July 28, 5:30, 7pm; El Buen Amigo (114 Elmwood Avenue). Sunday, July 29, 3:30-5pm; Filigrees (1121 Elmwood Avenue). Tuesday, July 31, 7:15-8:30pm; El Museo (91 Allen Street). Wednesday, August 1, 6:45-8pm; Rust Belt Books (202 Allen Street). Friday, August 3, 7-8:15pm; Burning Books (420 Connecticut Street). Saturday, August 4, 6:45-8pm; College Street Gallery (244 Allen Street).
Mmm…Bourbon and Coffee, a welcome start to any hazy day.
Much like their alcoholic counterpart, the musical incarnation of Bourbon and Coffee is sure to leave you with a buzz with their blend of spoken-word poetry steeped in instrumental jazz. Clarinet, oboe, bass, and trumpet flutter around the poetic workings of multiple readers as they explore themes of chaos, beauty, and philosophy.
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