Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

Cover Story

Old McDonald Had a Farm

by Peter Koch

This is what I had come this way for—this smell, these sounds, this view. I left the city an hour ago to get here, getting on the conveyor belt of the 33, along with the mad commuters who steered downtown with all the determination of spawning salmon. Out of the city, I chose my route deliberately: the 190 to the I-90 and down the shining tongue of the 219 as it traverses the Boston and Colden hills. At the Rice Hill Road exit, I get off and jog over Zimmerman Road to Brown Hill Road, where my senses are filled with the sweetly putrid smell of manure. Up here the only sounds that rise above the cicadas’ thrumming are the occasional barking dog (who’s probably barking at my stopped car) and the lowing of cows. From atop Brown Hill, my view stretches west and south for miles. The land is a green crazy quilt of hardwood forests interspersed by a dozen or more manmade clearings. Eighty-foot-tall grain silos poke their heads above the trees taking stock of their surroundings. These are the family farms that make up Western New York’s agricultural community. And while this may seem like a pastoral picture, it’s no secret that agriculture’s in big trouble.

Letters to Artvoice

I hope I speak for all teachers, educators and every citizen of Buffalo in giving you thanks for bringing to light the corruption of Carl Paladino (“Paladino Writes,” Artvoice v5n33). Your response to him showed your own intellegence, decency under fire and human respect, while his own words prove him to be a viper. He typifies the fascist mentality that hates questioning of his right to deceive the public trust and destroy communal property. He has to resort to threats, vulgarity and denial because you caught him in his lie. He resembles in these traits the present national leadership. Thanks for the unveiling of another corporate thief.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Philosopher George Gurdjieff declared that most of us are essentially asleep, even as we walk around in broad daylight. We’re ignorant about the higher levels of awareness we’re capable of; we’re blind to the continuous flow of life’s miraculous blessings. He said that in order to wake up and stay awake we need regular shocks. Some of these are uncomfortable, forcing us to face our own stupidity. But other shocks are delightful. They’re doses of sacred medicine that entice us to shake off our sleepiness and come to attention in pleasurable ways. I believe that in the coming weeks you’ll be offered a steady supply of the latter.


The Main Place Mall

by Brian W. Wright

Judging by recently announced expansions to both the Boulevard and Galleria malls, it would seem as though our region hopes to join the mega-mall movement, with developers creating massive entertainment and shopping centers that are destinations in themselves, complete with restaurants, movie theaters, nightclubs and high-end retailers. These mega-malls may be great for those who live in the surrounding suburbs, but downtown Buffalo continues to lack a shopping district with any sort of appeal, old-fashioned or newfangled; the Main Place Mall currently houses nothing more than a food court and shoe store. City residents will trek to the suburbs to shop, but many wish they didn’t have to, according to this week’s focus group.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ A former police official and current aggressive, respected, Wellington, New Zealand litigator, Rob Moodie, 67, said in July that he is tired of the old-boy network of male lawyers and judges, and that henceforth he will show his disdain by dressing in women’s clothes in court. The worse the “corruption” he senses, the frillier will be his outfits, said the married father of three, who also said he happens to like women’s clothes, but that it took the pervasive male courthouse culture to bring that into the open. Moodie said already he has enjoyed giving “a flash of lace at the urinal” but said he would keep his trademark moustache.

The News, Briefly

Walking Wage-Freeze Blues

by Geoff Kelly

The Ghosts of Brewing Past

by Brian W. Wright

Good Eats

Better Than British

by Bridget Kelly

Hertel Avenue boasts a long and varied strip of restaurants, in the heart of a comfortable city neighborhood. Near the middle of this district sits the Wellington Pub, directly next door to a local fixture: Bob and John’s Pizzeria. Bob and John Hazelet, a pair of brothers, had run the pizzeria for several years when the bar fell empty and they decided that opening a pub would be fun.


7 Years of Good Luck

by Geoff Kelly

Since its first incarnation in August 2000, the Elmwood Festival of the Arts has literally doubled in size—twice as many artists showing their work, twice as many stages for performers, twice the number of performers and participating arts organizations. Meanwhile, the festival’s reputation and attendance numbers have grown at an even greater pace; originally intended as a more locally focused, accessible and (for local artists especially) affordable alternative to the sprawling Allentown Arts Festival, it has come to be regarded as something more than that—an arts festival that truly celebrates Buffalo and its people, reflecting the city and the region’s living cultural wealth, as represented by working artists.

Play Ball!

Down the Stretch They Come!

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

It’s been a great ride this month. The season is winding down to its Labor Day finale, and our Buffalo Bisons, once left for dead in this years’ playoff race, actually found themselves in the thick of things for the lone wild card spot in the International League Governor’s Cup tournament. Even more interestingly, no fewer than five teams are contending for the wild card—Buffalo, Rochester, Ottawa, Louisville and Toledo are all bunched together in the standings, and while Rochester has opened up a comfortable lead, it is possible that the successful finisher will not be decided until the final day.


Grease and American Idol at the Riviera

by Anthony Chase

Grease has been done zillions of times in zillions of places from national tours to high school auditoria. The 1950s nostalgia show about teen love seemed like a perfect fit for the Historic Riviera Theatre on Webster Street in North Tonawanda, which looks like a Back to the Future trip to the 1950s to begin with. Still David Bondrow wanted to do something special to attract interest to his production.

Author Interview

Alex Bitterman

by Peter Koch

Alex Bitterman is a big fan of Buffalo. Perhaps that’s why the cover of his recently published book, Buffalo Is a Cool Place to Live, features a fan. Or maybe not. This is the first book by the 34-year-old Williamsville native. The idea came out of a thesis project and a deep love for the city. Bitterman spent a year interviewing past and present Buffalonians (and perhaps some future Buffalonians, too) on the phone and via email about their memories in, and perceptions of, Buffalo, and taking photographs of architectural details around the city. The end result is a polished book that gives the reader a true sense of our city, the good and the bad included. He lets the interviewees speak for themselves. While most of what’s in there we already know, Buffalo Is a Cool Place… serves as a sort of people’s history of Buffalo, and it also serves as a wakeup call to those of us who are still dragging our heels about yesterday’s failures. Like this article, Bitterman’s book began with a bad pun. AV caught up with Bitterman last week for a quick Q+A over coffee.

Film Reviews

The Heart Has Its Reasons, N'est Pas?

by George Sax

Ale's Well That Ends Well

by M. Faust


Living All Over Again

by Donny Kutzbach

Shaggy, slacker and strident, Dinosaur Jr’s legacy is their nonchalant and unique summation of so many sources and strains of rock and roll…and the fact that they did it loud. No 1980s three-piece (sorry, Violent Femmes and the Police) changed rock the way the way Dinosaur did, readying the waters for Nirvana and the explosion of music from the underground that would soon surge upward.

See You There

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band

by Greg Gannon

Dozynki: Polish Harvest Festival

by Eddy Dobosiewicz

The Prids

by K. O'Day

The Thief of Bagdad

by Geoff Kelly

Calendar Spotlight

Whiskey Daredevils

by Buck Quigley

Temporary Dream

by K. O'Day

This Day and Age

by Donny Kutzbach

Pick of the Crop Dance

by K. O'Day

Jackson & Jules