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Cover Story

A Congressman Abroad

by Geoff Kelly

Congressman Brian Higgins, who begins his second term this week, has quickly built a reputation for delivering to his 27th Congressional District. The relicensing settlement he helped to negotiate with the New York Power Authority yielded $279 million for development of the city’s long-derelict waterfront. He opened that window of opportunity a little wider by brokering the transfer of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s waterfront acreage to the agency that will oversee development of Buffalo’s coastal properties. He helped to abolish the 75-cent toll to take the I-190 into the city. Along with his fellow Democrat, US Representative Louise Slaughter of the 28th Congressional District, Higgins has worked hard to ensure that Western New York receives a healthy share of transportation and homeland security funds. (Higgins is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.)

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your power animal in 2007 will be the hare, whose front legs are shorter than its back legs, allowing it to run uphill with exceptional speed. What this means, Capricorn, is that while you will have more ascents to make than usual in the coming months, you will also be well-equipped to carry them out with efficiency and power. The steep challenges you face might feel daunting to anyone else, but your heightened ability to conquer them will often inspire you to approach them with relish.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

Bungee Baby: Nick Fennelly, 31, was rushing his in-labor girlfriend, Sharon Taylor, into the parking lot at Calderdale Royal Hospital in West Yorkshire, England, just as their baby’s head started to appear, and, in a corridor inside, little Ashleigh shot out of her mother so quickly that Fennelly couldn’t grab her in time. She hit the floor, skidded, and then came back on the umbilical cord, according to a December report in the Halifax Courier. Except for a bruise, Ashleigh is fine.


[for the babies to be born july 2007 & for o.r.]

by Liz Mariani


by Terry Godby

Book Reviews

Abuse Art. not children, by Robert Pomerhn

by Brian McMahon

At once the “cunningly clever” poet trashtalking in rhyme on the basketball court at the public park, the janitor of swirling thoughts, meditating while mopping an elementary school bathroom, and the buttondown poetry teacher, applying a lifetime’s wisdom to the purpose of putting art into action, Robert Pomerhn is the populist poet. His third book, Abuse Art. not children, is a guided tour through the crumbling American mindscape, with stops at the Gulf Coast post Katrina, the dead-eye glow of TV programming, credit-fueled conspicuous consumption, the stagnant slam poetry scene, the failing 21st-century family, and America’s bedrooms, boardrooms and war rooms. In “Family Tree,” the poet gathers together postwar Americana in a surreal consideration of domestic violence: “Leave it to Beaver/ to go after Ward/ with June’s meat cleaver.” In “Bush League,” Pomerhn lists the statistics of catastrophe after Hurricane Katrina sank New Orleans, writing, “174 portables pumping an open pit of putrid pampers, pus & piss/ into the Pontchatrain—PRICELESS.” By deploying the signifiers of American popular culture in the form of rapid-fire rhymes and alliterative tongue twisters, Pomerhn puts our disasters in perspective, often hitting upon the humor and absurdity of contemporary life. But Pomerhn is a poet in transformation. While much of the work in the present volume extends the populism of his earlier books, there are new strands here as well. The intricate collage work, “found poems,” and pieces such as “this hearse doesn’t have seatbelts” and “da da cument” present snapshots of Pomerhn’s evolving poetics. In “Till Death do Us Art,” he writes, “This is not an unfinished/ but an unfinishable work/ In saying this/ I am setting very/ high standards/… logic strikes me as a boring kind of game.” While logic may bore him, there is nonetheless a method to Pomerhn’s madness. Abuse Art. not children demonstrates the influence of the poet’s work as a mentor to the teenagers who attend his “Art in Action” program at the Dulski Center on Buffalo’s East Side. The poems that have come out of that exchange express a deep meditation on the boundaries, purpose, and redemptive potential of art. Abuse Art. not children is available at Borders or by contacting the publisher at


Love and Gurney

by Anthony Chase

This week will see the opening of two plays with special resonance for Buffalo. BUA’s revival of Terrence McNally’s 1994 play, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and the Buffalo premiere of native son A.R. Gurney’s The Fourth Wall at the Kavinoky Theatre.

Film Reviews

Barren Britain: The Children of Men

Smell-O-Vision: Perfume

Film Clips

Freedom Writers

Sweet Land

Puck Stop

No Standing "O" for Ted

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

This past Monday Islanders coach Ted Nolan’s odyssey came full circle here in Buffalo, to the place where he experienced some of his greatest triumphs and his biggest heartache.

See You There

Syd Barrett Tribute Show

by Eric Boucher

Nickel City Poetry Slam Featuring Mike McGee

by Buck Quigley

Ron Sexsmith

by Nikki Kozlowski

Jake Halpern

by Geoff Kelly

Left of the Dial

2006 Best of Reissues from the Vaults/Box Set Releases

We ran out of space in the last issue's year-end recap, so here's last year's top 10 releases among reissues, box sets and the like.

Calendar Spotlight

Lance Drake

Full Circle

Kill Hannah

by Caitlin Derose

Julie Loyd

by Caitlin Derose