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Cover Story

Power Failure

by Geoff Kelly

In the introduction to her book Power Failure: Politics, Patronage and the Economic Future of Buffalo, New York, released this week by Amherst-based Prometheus Books, author Diana Dillaway notes that those who hold political and economic power—and who are in a position to lead by virtue of that power—are not always willing or able to provide leadership.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Recently I had minor eye surgery to close some tiny holes in my retina. It wasn’t a big deal—just a preventive measure—and it didn’t have any effect on my actual physical vision. The best part of the experience happened because of the nurse who prepped me for the procedure. She used a felt-tip pen to write “YES” over my right eyebrow, ensuring that the surgeon wouldn’t aim the laser into the wrong eye. I didn’t wash off the “YES” until 24 hours after the operation, and was pleased at the unexpected effect it had. I found myself using my eyes more aggressively—with a greater hunger to study my surroundings. It was as if the written “YES” had given me a subliminal suggestion to switch on a figurative “YES” in my perceptual apparatus. Now I’m recommending this trick to you, Taurus. It’s a perfect astrological moment to perk up your seeing. I dare you to write “YES” over both of your eyebrows.

Letters to Artvoice

In December of 2004, I was in a less than great neighborhood in downtown Buffalo doing some volunteer work. This was a Tuesday morning; I was parked on Virginia Street from 9am until about 11:30am. When I returned to my vehicle to go to work, much to my dismay, I discovered that my car had been broken into. My passenger side front window was completely gone; there was a crack all the way across my windshield, the driver’s side door had been popped off its hinge, and my stereo had been stolen.


Who's to Blame for Buffalo's Ills?

by Daniel B. Honigman

Buffalonians often wonder why their city is in such bad shape. A new book by a former Buffalonian, Diana Dillaway, takes a look at decision-making in the city over the last 40 or 50 years. In the book, Power Failure, Dillaway offers explanations as to why the city is in its current state, tracing some of the major policy and development choices made by Buffalo’s politicians and business elite, many of whom were working in their own best interests, she writes. However, we wondered what you thought.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Leonard Brown, 47, sentenced in 1982 to 99 years in prison in Florida for armed robbery, was released in April after a fellow inmate (having looked over Brown’s records) pointed out to officials that Brown’s sentence was illegally long and that 15 years was the maximum time he could have been kept behind bars. The probable explanation, according to sources cited by the Tampa Tribune, was that Brown’s judge (now deceased) misinterpreted whether Brown was ever armed. Thus, but for the fortuitous discovery of that eagle-eyed inmate, Brown would have spent his entire post-teenage life in prison.

Casino Chronicles

The Common Council and the Seneca Creek Casino Hype

by Bruce Jackson and Ken Ilgunas

The four biggest scams being pushed in connection with the casino the Seneca Gaming Corporation would like to build in downtown Buffalo are these:

In the Margins

Dawn Raffel

by Forrest Roth

Dawn Raffel is the featured visiting writer for the final COMMUNIQUE: Flash Fiction reading of the season, which takes place this Friday at Big Orbit Gallery (30D Essex St.) at 7pm, with Erin Gay from Syracuse opening. Raffel is the author of a story collection, In the Year of Long Division (Knopf 1994), and a novel, Carrying the Body (Scribner 2002). Artvoice recently had the opportunity to conduct an email interview to ask her about these two books:

Book Review

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin

by Gerry Rising

Given the way Washington operates today, it is difficult to identify the administration of Abraham Lincoln as representative of the politics of this nation. Winning the nomination for president of the early Republican Party in May 1860 as a compromise candidate over several national figures who didn’t even consider this frontier politician a viable opponent, Lincoln went on to win the election as the Southern states prepared to leave the union. Then Lincoln did something quite extraordinary; he chose his rivals in the primary as his senior cabinet members: William Seward as Secretary of State, Salmon Chase as Secretary of the Treasury and Edward Bates as Attorney General. He also brought a mix of former Whigs and former Democrats, abolitionists and anti-abolitionists into the cabinet. Almost all of these appointees felt that they would control this back-woods storyteller. How they failed to do this is the story Ms. Goodwin tells in this lengthy but interesting narrative. Most would come to respect Lincoln highly. For example, one who did not hold Lincoln in high regard early on, Edwin Stanton, for months after Lincoln’s assassination broke down at the mention of his name. The one exception to this loyalty, Chase, comes across as a back-stabber who finally left the cabinet. Despite fully understanding this conduct, this remarkable president appointed him as Supreme Court Chief Justice. Highly recommended.

Artist of the Week

Celia White

by Miakka Natisse Wood

Why you should know who she is: Having written four self-published books of poetry and co-founded the annual poetry marathon Urban Epiphany, Celia White is entrenched in the Western New York literary scene. Since 1998, Urban Epiphany has gathered poets of all sorts and levels of accomplishment to read their pieces in two-minute time slots. This year’s event takes place on Sunday (April 30) starting at 3pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church (695 Elmwood). When White sits down to write, she says it’s like putting together pieces of a puzzle: “Often it’s a collaging experience, where I collect lines over time into my notebook, and eventually arrange them into a poem, rather than writing something start to finish,” she says. Her patient and gentle method produces poems that demand to be read out loud.

Fine Dining

Making a Difference, One Ravioli at a Time

by Arthur Page

My “ideal restaurant” is one that serves good food at reasonable prices and offers excellent service. You can arrive dressed as casual as you like and no one will think twice. The emphasis is on good food, not décor. And since we’re talking “ideal,” this restaurant should be located a short distance from my home.

You Auto Know

Deja Vu All Over Again. Again.

by Jim Corbran

I recognize you. You were the one who wore Chuck Taylors to the senior prom.

Puck Stop

Sabres Flyers VIII

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

The energy, in the streets and in the arena itself, was real and palpable. The Sabres are in the playoffs, and you could feel the excitement this past Saturday. Yes, there were tailgaters out on Washington Street, firing up the grills on a balmy spring afternoon. The ticket resellers were pleading for extras—seems like there were none to be had. And fans were handed white t-shirts and pompoms to create a “white out” in the seating bowl. And thankfully, those dreaded orange and black jerseys of the visiting Flyers were hard to spot anywhere, creating a truly raucous and partisan house.


Wife and Quills

by Anthony Chase

This week, two plays by Doug Wright open in Buffalo on the same night. His Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway hit, I Am My Own Wife, is being produced by Buffalo United Artists, starring Jimmy Janowski, and his successful grand guignol account of the last days of the Marquis de Sade, Quills, for which he also penned the screenplay, is being produced by Torn Space.



by Anthony Chase

The current MusicalFare production of Urinetown is two hours and 25 minutes of sheer theatrical bliss. Superior material yields superior results in this, the unrivaled highlight of the MusicalFare season, directed by Randall Kramer.

Film Reviews

Torah and Tabu: La Petite Jérusalem

by George Sax

The Nerves in Patterns on a Screen: Zoe Beloff's Charming Augustine

by Girish Shambu

Eyes Wide Shut: United 93, Hard Candy

by M. Faust

See You There

The Books

by Greg Gannon


by Geoff Kelly

Linwood Homes Tour

by Miakka Natisse Wood

Fahrenheit 451 Month

by Peter Koch

Left of the Dial

Drive-By Truckers: A Blessing and a Curse

by Donny Kutzbach

Bruce Springsteen: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions

by Nicholas Mendola

Fruit Bats

by Tracy Morrow


Temporary Dream

Anything else you would like our readers to know about the band? Our new CDR with hand screened covers is finished (see image) and contains 12 lo-fi recordings of various home and live performances. Our live set is mostly improvised and is a mixture of ambient, experimental and vaguely pop sounds. Also, we challenge the Goo Goo Dolls to a battle of the bands. Anytime, anywhere.