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

Mardi Gras

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, there is a campaign afoot ( to designate Mardi Gras a national holiday. Thanks to Artvoice and a heavenly host of sponsors, club owners, volunteers, float-builders, performers, marchers, runners, cyclists, assorted angels and revelers, Buffalo has an 11-year head start. The 11th Annual Artvoice Mardi Gras is the biggest Fat Tuesday charity event anywhere and the third biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the country. Our parade boasts more than 40 floats, the 7k Big Fat Race and Big Fat Bike Ride, all wending a tipsy path from the Albright-Knox, along Elmwood, through Allentown and Chippewa and ending at Cozumel.


How Smart Are Our Schools?

by Kia Wood

Buffalo Superintendent James A. Williams recently unveiled a plan for a new high-standards math, science and technology high school to provide more a challenging curriculum to students. Seems like a good idea, but a dispute is inevitable between Williams and the Buffalo Teachers Federation over the superintendent’s plan to hire teachers through an interview process, as opposed to staffing it by seniority. As another round in the Williams v. BTF prizefight unfolds, who do you think deserves to win? And do we really need all this fighting anyway?

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Biologist Rupert Sheldrake regularly riles up the scientific establishment with his theories about telepathy and other taboo subjects. After he published his book A New Science of Life, the editor of the prestigious British journal Nature denounced it, saying “This infuriating tract is the best candidate for burning there has been for many years.” The same editor later attacked Sheldrake for “heresy,” advocating that he be “condemned in exactly the same language that the Pope used to condemn Galileo.” I propose that if you’re doing your job correctly in the coming weeks, Pisces, you will attract similar protests from the status quo. Fulfilling your mission will require you to wander into territory that’s regarded as off-limits by the guardians of the way things have always been done.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Palm Beach County, Fla., created the controversial “butterfly ballot” in the 2000 presidential election that reportedly confused more than a thousand Gore-Lieberman voters such that they wound up marking their ballots for a minor-party candidate. In February 2006, local education officials told the Palm Beach Post that too many of the county’s high school students apparently knew answers on the statewide comprehensive test but were incorrectly marking the answer sheets. The multiple choice questions require only one circle to be darkened on the sheet, but other questions require darkening digits of an actual numerical answer, apparently bewildering students into darkening too many or too few circles.

Letters to Artvoice

I was surprised to read in Michael I. Niman’s recent article (“Getting a Grip,” Artvoice v5n6) that “Slavery…was always unconstitutional.”

The Casino Chronicles

There Goes the Neighborhood

by Ken Ilgunas & Bruce Jackson

Plenty of studies show that downtown casinos drain money from the local economy; they take, they don’t give. Indian-owned casinos on sovereign land are even more malign. Who can compete when the casino owners aren’t paying taxes or insurance, when they’re not liable for injuries or accidents, when they’re exempt from costly environmental and health regulations? Restaurants, bars and shops in Indian-owned casinos start out 20 to 30 percent ahead of everyone else. All the studies document what common sense suggests: a downtown, Indian-owned casino in Buffalo will suck the economic breath out of the city.


Arctic Front

by Kevin Thurston

Chez Moy: Poet Paul Muldoon

by Peter Koch

The News, Briefly

Work, Informally Speaking

by Peter Koch

The New Gospel

by Geoff Kelly

Art Feature

Identity, Folklore, and Convention

by Cynnie Gaasch

The “24/12” exhibits by Patricia Carter and Kelly Spivey currently on view the Burchfield-Penney Art Center challenge notions of what is normal. Working in film, Spivey makes use of vintage print and film advertising imagery to confront the consumer culture we have been living in for decades. Carter tackles the legacy of African-American domestic workers. Delving into very separate terrain, the two artists’ investigations cross over on the subjects of identity loss, uniformity, and convention.


Cynthia Mace in "Ghosts"

"Ghosts" at Studio Arena

James Clow is Captain Hook


by Javier

The fabulous Maria Conchita Alonso (pictured above) has joined the cast of the TV hit “Desperate Housewives” playing Gabrielle’s mother, Lucia. Gabrielle is played by Eva Longoria. Born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, Alonso made her Broadway debut in 1995 in Kiss of the Spider Woman following in the footsteps of Vanessa Williams, who had followed Chita Rivera as Aurora. In 2002, Alonso appeared in Los Angeles in the Geffen Playhouse’s production of Oscar and Felix, A New Look at The Odd Couple, an updated take on Neil Simon’s classic comedy. In this “updated” version, the Pigeon sisters became the Spanish born Costazuela’s. This was actually inspired by The Odd Couple–The Female Version which opened on Broadway in 1985 starring Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers, which featured the Costazuela brothers, played by Tony Shalhoub (who later became TV’s “Monk”) and Lewis J. Stadlen (a Studio Arena alum who was in Buffalo last year starring in the touring production of The Producers).


by M. Faust & George Sax

DOMINO—The most overwrought (in the accurate sense of the word) American film since Natural Born Killers, Tony Scott’s very loosely adapted film of the life of bounty hunter Domino Harvey (Keira Knightley in a role that couldn’t possibly be more different than her part in the current Pride and Prejudice) replays a lot from his True Romance, amped up by editing techniques that make watching it the equivalent of staring at malfunctioning strobe lights. But it has a lunatic sense of invention—the script was written by Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) and Steve Barancik (The Last Seduction). And you can’t entirely dislike a film (well, I can’t, anyway) that features Tom Waits as a mescaline hallucination and Christopher Walken as a TV producer described as having the attention span of a ferret on crystal meth (which makes him the perfect audience for this). Waits also provides one of the DVD’s audio commentaries, which in and of itself should be worth the rental.

Film Reviews

Cow Poke: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

by M. Faust

It Ain't the Hotel California: Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

by George Sax

When They Came For Me...: Les Ordres

by M. Faust

Left of the Dial

Robert Pollard: From a Compound Eye

by Donny Kutzbach

Bonnie "Prince" Billy

by Bill Nehill


The Todd Eberwine Band

We often get labeled as a straight ahead blues band but we try our hardest to not be known as just that. Anyone that's been to a show or has heard our albums knows that we stray off the beaten path of blues on a regular basis. There’s a lot of rock influence in there, hardly any of our original music could be called “blues,” it just so happens we play with a bluesy feel.

See You There

Love and Sex: The Peepshow

by Geoff Kelly

Byron Stripling

by Kia Wood


by Daniel B. Honigman

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult

by Gore Petersen

Artist of the Week

Aaron Piepszny

by Cynnie Gaasch

Why you should know who he is: Aaron Piepszny is fast making a career for himself as a dancer of hybrid variety with sources including hip-hop, classical ballet and mime. Piepszny first registered on my radar when he showed up to the Dance Stage at the Artvoice Street Festival last year. Aaron walked up and asked if he could fill some free time between performing groups. We said, “Why not?” and he gave us quite a show. Currently Aaron is taking in as much inspiration as he can and spinning it back out to the world through movement. Piepszny performs this Friday (Feb. 24) at 7pm, at the Albright Knox Art Gallery’s free Gusto at the Gallery. On March 4, he’ll be traveling to Toronto to perform in a talent show called “Kollaboration.”