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Cover Story

Suing the Governor: A Conversation with Attorney Robert Knoer

by Bruce Jackson

I think it’s important to talk about what it’s not. A lot of people want to say that it’s about opposing casinos, it’s about saving old buildings. To me, the state suit is not about opposing casinos or saving old buildings as much as it’s about making sure we all have the right to give our opinion on saving old buildings or opposing casinos.


by Daniel B. Honigman

The latest campaign by the Bush administration in their ubiquitous “war on terrorism” has left many Buffalonians shaking their heads. In December, the President defended a secret program used by the National Security Agency. The program enables the NSA to order domestic wiretaps on some international calls without obtaining prior court approval, in what many experts believe to be a violation of privacy laws. Are these measures necessary to protect Americans from a clear threat, or is it just another effort by the Bush administration to expand the controversial Patriot Act?

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Even with the nation at war and casualties mounting, some Pentagon officials evidently believe that one way to reduce military families’ stress is to teach them to laugh. Its “laughter instructor,” retired Army Col. James Scott, holds therapeutic sessions around the country with National Guard families that feature walking like a penguin and blurting “ha ha hee hee and ho ho,” according to a January USA Today story. Said Scott, “The guiding principle is to laugh for no reason (which is) one of the reasons it works so well for military families.”

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Several of my friends have given names to their cars, and I know many other people who have bestowed appellations on their homes, their vacuum cleaners, their favorite trees, and their genitals. In Norse mythology, the god Thor affectionately called his magic golden hammer by the name Mjollnir. It so happens that this would be a ripe time for you to experiment with this approach, Aquarius. I think you’ll find that as you name your home and car as well as every plant, toaster, traffic light, crow and cloud, that the whole world will become more alive and friendly and helpful.

Letters to Artvoice

No longtime classically trained professional musician exists whose entire stock in trade is based on copying another musician. The idea of that is beyond idiotic. Let alone the notion that such an imagined person would pick a musician to copy whom almost no one knows about; and believe me, I was a musician and serious listener in the same area where Tori Amos lived when she was forming her musical identity in the 1970s, and if I ever heard the name Kate Bush in those days it was fleetingly at best. The very idea that she would choose to copy Ms. Bush’s music is preposterous.

Book Reviews

Plain Heathen Mischief by Martin Clark

by Gerry Rising

The California Poem by Eleni Sikelianos

by Peter Conners

The News, Briefly

State of the Union

by Geoff Kelly


by Peter Koch


Art for a Hot Date

by Cynnie Gaasch

This Saturday (February 4) at noon, The Western New York Artists Group opens its annual Valentine’s season exhibition, “Romantically Inspired,” at Art Dialogue Gallery (One Linwood Ave.). For the exhibit, regional artists have brought together friendly and intimate works of art that might be a pleasing gift for your Valentine this season.


by Anthony Chase

In the intimate world of the theater, the passing of great artists is experienced as a personal loss. This week saw the death of two great American women playwrights, Wendy Wasserstein and Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland. Each touched many lives through their work as well as through numerous friendships and acts of personal kindness.

You Auto Know

by Jim Corbran

Gas prices are up, insurance costs are high, and the purchase of a new vehicle is often accompanied by a payment book bigger than the Manhattan phone directory. Luckily, some of the more interesting models coming out right now or in the next few months are small, economical cars. Stuff normal people like you and me can actually afford. Cars which may outlive the payment book.

All Sabres... All the Time

by Andrew Kulyk and Peter Farrell

How about listening to roundtable discussions and interviews with Sabres players and front office executives anytime you want? Downloading photos of your favorite team members. Or getting stats and bios on Sabres players of the past. Charts of player’s salaries. Posting your own editorials and comments on any one of many blogs and message boards in cyberspace.

Gewgaws and Gimcracks

Connoisseur Corkscrew

by David P. Kleinschmidt

Despite the label, this is not a corkscrew. This is a $30 cork management and disposal system. You barely have to think about having a bottle of wine, and it will have selected a vintage appropriate for your meal, opened it and poured it into a glass for you. Unlike your traditional corkscrews, the Connoisseur has a clamp that secures it to the neck of the wine bottle, and the screw is attached to a lever mechanism that twists it into the cork when you push it down. Pull the lever back up and it extracts the cork from the bottle. Getting the cork off the screw is easy, too: clamp the corkscrew around the cork, pull the lever up again and the screw twists out as easily as it went in. Once you get a Connoisseur corkscrew, your clumsiness will never again come between you and your hooch.


by M. Faust and George Sax

Director Asia Argento’s excruciating adaptation of J. T. LeRoy’s semi-autobiographical short stories is recommended only for the most jaded audiences. Argento casts herself as the ultimate white trash mother, periodically resurfacing in the life of her young son to drag him away from whatever hellish foster situation he is in and out on the road with her. Imagine a Mommie Dearest–type biography of Courtney Love written by Hubert Selby and starring Juliette Lewis. Argento is a spirited filmmaker who can push this material right to the edge, though it’s still likely to be too much for many people to handle. Still, with a cast that includes supporting turns by Peter Fonda, Ornella Mutti, Winona Ryder, Jeremy Sisto, Ben Foster, Hasil Adkins, Lydia Lunch and Marilyn Manson, it will undeniably appeal to viewers who like to watch movies on a dare. (Available as a British import only.)


Emerging Cinema

by M. Faust

In 2002, bemoaning the fact that only a small number of the wonderful films I was seeing at the Montreal World Film Festival would ever be available for an American audience, I wrote this:

Film Reviews

Go for Zucker!

by M. Faust


by Girish Shambu

Isn't This a Time!

by M. Faust

Artist of the Week

Dave Ruch

by Peter Koch

Dave Ruch is not a folk musician. While it’s true that he plays traditional folk tunes, he’s equal parts historian, anthropologist and teacher. Mostly, though, Dave just considers himself a musician. As a musician, he’s doing something that few others are doing locally—reviving and preserving our state’s musical heritage. Each time Ruch picks up his guitar and clears his throat to sing, you can almost hear the bawdy timbre of Adirondack lumbermen, the tidal lilt of the Great Lakes sailors, or the lone, careworn voice of an upstate farmer calling out of the past.

See You There

Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart

by Eric Boucher

James Joyce With Gusto

by Anthony Chase

On the Road to Freedom Exhibit

by Peter Koch

John Paul Caponigro/Lecture and Slide Show

by K. O'Day

Left of the Dial

Portastatic: Bright Ideas

by Matt Barber

Rocky Votolato

by Nicholas Mendola

Lady Sovereign: Vertically Challenged EP / His Name Is Alive: Detrola

by Matthew Holota


Adam Zadok

I’ve been nominated “Best Male Solo Artist” for the 2006 International Online Music Awards. My song “Warpath” has been in rotation at over 150 acoustic–format radio stations in the U.S. and abroad. My song “Sunflower” will be included on 107.7 The Lake’s Local Music CD – Vol. 3.