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Cover Story

The Long Journey

by Peter Koch

For many of us, our only experience of Somalia is the movie Black Hawk Down, which depicted an American Special Forces raid into the capital city of Mogadishu in October 1993. The mission of the 120-odd Delta Force, Army Rangers and Navy SEALs was to capture several key lieutenants of Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, who opposed a United Nations-led effort to cobble together a coalition government out of Somalia’s warring clans. In the end, 18 American soldiers were killed and nearly 500 Somalis lay dead in the streets of Mogadishu. International news outlets later played gruesome footage of the bodies of American soldiers being dragged through the streets and burned.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ In September, following complaints of diners, the health department in Springfield, Mo., notified restaurants that Debby Rose’s “assistance monkey” could not be permitted to dine with her (in a high chair), even though Rose said she suffers from a disabling social phobia that she can accommodate only if “Richard” (a bonnet macaque monkey) is with her. Monkeys are generally permitted under the Americans with Disabilities Act if they perform certain tasks, as capuchin monkeys have been trained to fetch groceries from shelves for wheelchair-using patrons. However, animals that provide only emotional support fall into a gray area, according to a US Justice Department spokesperson quoted by the Springfield News-Leader.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Dear Rob: When my wife got pregnant, she was warned that one side effect might be that her feet would grow a bit. She’s now a few months along, and while her feet remain a dainty size 7, my own feet have expanded from size 12 to 13! I’ve heard husbands sometimes have sensations that parallel their pregnant wives’ symptoms, but this is crazy, don’t you think? ~Vicarious Aries.” Dear Vicarious: You Rams are in a phase when your ability to share the feelings and experiences of others is at a peak. I suggest you take advantage of this opening to supercharge your empathy and get closer to your loved ones than you’ve ever dared.

Getting a Grip

Habeas Fascismus

by Michael I. Niman

Last week will go down in infamy as one of the most important and shameful weeks in Western history. While future Americans might not be allowed to freely discuss such subversive topics as history, school children in other countries will learn what happened in the last week of September 2006. A mere five years after a band of razor-wielding, two-bit terrorists declared war on America by destroying the World Trade Center, both houses of the US Congress finished their job and voted to end all pretenses of democracy and begin the transition to an imperial form of governance backed by state terror.

Letters to Artvoice

Painting with words can be both real life and impressionistic. Re: sham-a-lama ding-dong’s creator, he painted with a very, very broad brush, and it looked like one shade of black (“Letters to AV,” Artvoice v5n38). I rather prefer the full spectrum of rainbow and subtleties, sometimes with the pot of gold at the end. The University at Buffalo seems to use the liberal version of the word “universal,” not a “state-sponsored class in ‘interfaith services.’ The Dalai Lama’s visit was about exposure to cultural aspects of life, not selling a belief system. Most religions may be shams, but not entirely. Anything considered at least 50 percent or more of value, as is Buddhism as well as other faiths, is worth providing a glimpse to the public. That the public and media can make no sense of the tenets is not surprising. Even the woman paying $20 million for a ride to the ISS is referred to as a “space visitor,” not an astronaut. There are qualifications and distinctions. That broad brush convinces very, very few.

Design Matters

From A-Z

by Albert Chao

The line between architecture and the arts is becoming finer. Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Toshiko Mori, Frank Gehry, Yung Ho Chang and Rem Koolhaas are all part of a growing number of architects who bring their interests and experimentation in the built form to the gallery scene. Local University at Buffalo architecture professor Brad Wales has created Gallery 164, while Mehrdad Hadighi and Frank Fantauzzi’s exhibition Orbits at the Big Orbit Gallery serve as a memorable and exciting bridge between art and architecture.


by Javier

Kander and Ebb’s murder mystery musical Curtains, which premiered in Los Angeles this past August was just nominated for seven LA Ovation Awards including Best Musical and Lead Actor in a Musical for its star David Hyde Pierce (pictured above). Set in Boston in the 1950s, Pierce plays a homicide detective who is an avid musical theater fan. The producers hope to take the show to Broadway by the end of this season. Interestingly enough, two other Kander & Ebb musicals that did not make it to New York are back in the works. The Visit (starring Chita Rivera) and All About Us (based on Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth) have been announced for regional productions in the 2007-08 season. Pierce was last seen on Broadway in the musical Spamalot. In 1990 he starred opposite Christine Baranski in Jules Feiffer’s comedy Elliot Loves at the now defunct Promenade Theater in New York.


For W.C.W.

by Trish Pantano


by Elizabeth Dickhut


by Chuck Joy

Sing Me the Blues

by Wendy Parent

Book Reviews

[one love affair]* by Jenny Boully

by Peter Conners

Because spring is not quite summer, Jenny Boully’s [one love affair]* is the perfect book of poetry to read in summer while wistful for spring. Or thinking of past loves and varieties of flowers. Or perhaps it is not a book of poetry at all, but a collection of sentences as ephemeral as, “an emptiness floating within the hollow of her pond boat.” In any season, you might open Boully’s book and read a sentence that says, “On the dock over the sea, everything smells like flowers and trees, the too-perfect scenery was all make-believe” and wonder when she writes, “I only said I loved you in my poetry” if the truth was in the speaking, in the poetry, or in all three being too fleeting to pin down; like a lepidopterist rolling a pupa between her fingers, eager for the butterfly she will one day mount and examine.

Puck Stop

Stanley Cup Parade Next June? Not So Fast!

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

All the pundits around the NHL are singing a different tune than from that of a year ago. When the league came out of the lockout, much of the national media picked the Buffalo Sabres to finish the season dead last. Sports Illustrated ranked our team 27th. After enduring several chaotic seasons under the threat of bankruptcy and even dissolution, the on-ice product looked bleak.


Repeat Offender

by M. Faust

“I related to the material when I read the script, and I don’t know why, it’s like an obsessive behavioral pattern on my part,” says Martin Scorsese about The Departed, his first gangster film since 1991’s GoodFellas. (Appropriately it was produced and released by Warner Brothers, the studio that invented the gangster genre in the 1930s with the films of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson.)

Film Reviews

Old Folks At Home

by George Sax

Lesson in Lennonism

by M. Faust

See You There

Amon Tobin

by Greg Gannon

The Melvins

by Donny Kutzbach

Latinbeat Film Festival

by M. Faust

Lisa Germano

by Eric Boucher


Rise Up With Heart and Harmonies!

by Donny Kutzbach

2006 is bound to go down as a year of outstanding left-of-center country records from celebrated chanteuses, led by Neko Case’s powerhouse Fox Confessor Brings the Flood along with Cat Power’s The Greatest, Allison Moorer’s Getting Somewhere and Lucinda Williams’ forthcoming The Knowing. Right up among them is a bit of a dark horse in the debut solo record by Jenny Lewis (with the Watson Twins), Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love). It’s an album that veers from manifestos on politics and religion, dark confessionals, sing-a-long covers and understated pop savvy for a slightly off-kilter yet ultimately tempered and mature taste of country-soul.

Left of the Dial

Paul Westerberg

Richard Buckner

Calendar Spotlight

A Brothers Perspective

by Lisa Cialfa

Alan Zweibel

by Nikki Kozlowski


by Siobhan A. Counihan

Minus the Bear

by Lisa Cialfa

Chin Up Chin Up

Okkervil River

by Siobhan A. Counihan