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Love Notes

by AV Readers

Valentine’s Day—a commercial invention with a cloying brand identity. But who can say no to love, no matter the package? We can’t. And neither can our readers, who swamped our inboxes and the bustling Artvoice mailroom with Love Notes once again this year. Winnowing the wheat from the chaff is heartless work. Every entry we received—saucy, sappy, good, bad, weird, banal—was illuminated by its subject matter. Or nearly. We can’t print them all, however, though we wish we could; in love, as in all things, there are winners and losers. So, employing a delicately weighted balloting system, our blue-ribbon panel of romance analysts cast their jaundiced eyes on this year’s submissions and chose three winners. We include as well a handful of honorable mentions whose paeans demanded public exposure, for good or for ill.


How Are Buffalonians Spending Their Valentine's Day?

by Caroline Phelan

For most folks, a chubby-looking baby flying around and shooting arrows at strangers for kicks does not exactly portend the kind of romance they are looking for. Nonetheless, whether you are sending an embarrassingly gaudy bouquet of flowers to your significant other or attempting to ignore all the loving couples strolling hand in hand, Valentine’s Day is inescapable. Tt may be comforting to know that this holiday will be pretty low-key for many of your fellow Buffalonians.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Happy Valentine Daze, Aquarius! The English novelist Julia Pardoe expressed an idea that would be useful for you to integrate into your thoughts about love in 2006. “In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, a donkey, and a nightingale,” she wrote. “Diversity of character is due to their unequal activity.” Why is this important for you to contemplate? In the coming weeks, I believe, you will have an unprecedented chance to bring the tiger and nightingale aspects to the forefront of both your own heart and the hearts of those whose affections mean most to you.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Ms. Sierra Stiles, age 8, was credited with the first bear kill in Maryland in the limited October hunting season, downing a 211-pounder from 50 yards away with her .243-caliber rifle. (She had won one of the lottery-awarded permits and then aced the safety test.) And according to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer profile in January, Aidan Gold, age 8, of Bothell, Wash., recently climbed a 20,300-foot peak on Mount Everest in the Himalayas with his dad, adding to his previous climbs in the Cascades and the Alps. Aidan said the last part of the Everest climb (a 45-degree stretch of rock and ice) was “the (hardest) 3,000 feet I’ve ever done.”

Letters to Artvoice

In a recent article regarding JROTC (Artvoice v5n4), the writer referred to Veterans For Peace as a “nation-wide anti-war group.” I recommend you investigate the true nature of Veterans For Peace before you marginalize the work we do “nation-wide.” We have projects occurring world-wide, including in Iraq and Vietnam.

Getting a Grip

Par Boiled People

by Michael I. Niman

We’re living in a lawless nation. So I guess I shouldn’t be shocked every time I return from a trip and catch up on the news to see how much further the ruling junta and its international posse have sunk into the depths of moral depravity. This time around the shocker was a revelation that the Bush-connected dictator in the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, with the seeming acquiescence of the C.I.A., had taken to ordering his political prisoners boiled to death.


by Javier

The fabulous Susan Anton (pictured above) is starring in the Las Vegas production of the musical Hairspray which begins previews this week at the Luxor Hotel before the official opening on February 15th. For this production, the show has been shortened to a 90–minute version with no intermission. Anton, who is a major Vegas headliner in her own club acts, is playing Velma Von Tussle which is now a non–singing part. In the original version, the character sings the hilarious “Miss Baltimore Crabs” (Canadian actress Susan Henly played the part when the touring production came to Buffalo). Anton, who is now 55, made her Broadway debut in 1985 in David Rabe’s Hurlyburly. She later appeared in The Will Rogers Follies.


Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance


Squeeze Box


Landscapes of the Mind: John Paul Caponigro

by Peter Koch

Renowned photographer John Paul Caponigro has been studying and reinventing American desertscapes and seascapes through his art for twenty years. Trained as a painter, he often explores and manipulates color relationships found in nature. Caponigro is recognized as one of the world’s most knowledgeable and accomplished artist working with digital processes. His photographs have a magical, almost surreal quality about them, which forces viewers to reconsider their relationship to nature and to art.

Artist of the Week

Brian Milbrand

by Lauren Newkirk Maynard

Why you should know who he is: Brian Milbrand is a video documentarian, technical director and well-known performance artist by day, and a serial killer by night. Well, in his dreams, that is. Milbrand is creatively obsessed by his vivid, terrifying dreams and uses Jungian psychology to help him transform his graphic dreamscapes into powerful, thought-provoking video and performance works. His films have been screened across the country and here in Buffalo at venues like Hallwalls, Squeaky Wheel, the Carnegie Art Center and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. Appropriately, Milbrand is a member of the Real Dream Cabaret and was a founding member of Kamikaze—the former Buffalo art collective that performed a season of interactive micro-cinema works in 2002-2003. Currently, he is an adjunct professor of media technology and a multimedia technician at Medaille College, and he serves as technical director at Squeaky Wheel. You can see Milbrand’s work in Squeaky Wheel’s voyeuristic, interactive and perhaps even dreamy “Love and Sex: The Peepshow” art party, February 25 on the 8th floor of the Lenox Hotel.


Cutting Culture at Buffalo Arts Studio

The Painter Painting the Painting at Insite


Culinary Couples

by Arthur Page

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s difficult not to believe in the Yiddish concept of beshert when you hear the stories about how destiny brought together the couples who operate two of Buffalo’s hottest new restaurants —The Coda and Amaryllis.

Book Reviews

Kiss and Tell: A Trivial Study of Smooching, by Kevin Dwyer

by Peter Koch

The Hookup Handbook, by Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler

by Jill Froebel

Film Reviews

Cybernetic, But Off the Assembly Line: Firewall

by George Sax

Burst: Bubble

by M. Faust


Love is Better in Black and White

by M. Faust

Scanning those endless lists that people like to post at, I’m struck by the fact that if they were to delete all the movie lists that include Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and While You Were Sleeping, the folks at Amazon could probably reduce their webspace by half. I realize that young people tend to be attached to the films that they saw at a formative age, but at some point you have to explore your film heritage. As a starting point, here’s a guide to ten hugely enjoyable classic romantic comedies to watch with someone you love.


In the Mood

by AV Music Staff

Every good holiday should have a soundtrack. To be sure, it just wouldn’t seem like Christmas without repeated playings of “Jingle Bells,” “White Christmas” or even the dreaded paean to that deformed deer of yore, “Rudolph.” Likewise, there are plenty of ghoulishly fun songs to coincide nicely with Halloween, while Easter gets its own share of goofy, often awkward dedications to that sacred Sunday in the spring. Somehow Valentine’s Day is the one major holiday that doesn’t come ready-made with its own songbook.

See You There

My Bloody Valentine's Day

by Donny Kutzbach

Louise Brooks in Photographs

by K. O'Day

WNY Black Film Festival

by M. Faust

From the Souls of Black Folk

by Kia Wood

Cirque Du Soleil

by Caroline Phelan

Left of the Dial

Annie Hayden: The Enemy of Love

by Matt Barber

Warren Zevon: Reconsider Me - The Love Songs

by Mark Norris


The Frame Up

The Frame Up = No bull, all Buffalo. Thanks to all our friends!