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

Cover Story

Muddying the Water

by Geoff Kelly

On Wednesday morning, March 14, the Erie County Water Authority announced that the supervisor of the authority’s water quality lab had been placed on paid administrative leave, where he will remain until the completion of an investigation of an incident that occurred nearly two months ago.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Mount Diablo High School (Concord, Calif.) students met in racial groups in February to prepare for upcoming statewide tests, to motivate them to improve their race’s “team” score from the year before. Principal Bev Hansen defended the strategy of dividing whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians, pointing out both its previous successes (increases of from 46 points for whites to 80 points for Hispanics) and its ability to motivate by positive ethnicity (rather than allowing intergroup taunting over scores to fester).

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you’re playing by other people’s rules,” says novelist Michael Korda, “while quietly playing by your own.” That strategy works for many of the happiest people I know. It ain’t easy, though. You’ve got to figure out how to be honest and genuine even though you’re constantly performing; you’ve got to make your life a work of art that continually allows you to reinvent your innocent enjoyment of the game you’re playing. You Pisceans are probably better suited for this cagey approach than any other sign. And it’s currently a favorable time to get the hang of pulling it off.

Getting a Grip

Is Bush Backing Al-Qaeda?

by Michael I. Niman

What do you call someone who knowingly gives money to Al Qaeda? There are a host of new laws, edicts and presidential declarations that criminalize even thinking of supporting Al Qaeda—or supporting anyone who supports anyone who supports anything that can be called Al Qaeda by anyone. If you’ve breathed the same air as Al Qaeda you can be accused and condemned for giving material support to terrorism—no trial and no questions asked.

Letters to Artvoice

It seems as though the Buffalo police are already on strike (“Imagine a City With No Plice,” Artvoice v6n10) with the lack of response or care to calls made this past Thursday, March 8, between 3pm and 4pm. It all started when I was returning to my office on Main near Chippewa Street after running some errands for my boss. When I came to the corner steps in front of the First Niagara Bank I was blocked by a group of approximately 5-6 high school kids who would not move and even started using degrading name-calling when I walked around them. After flipping them off, half of them started to follow me. I actually felt fear in downtown Buffalo during broad day light and called 911 from my office.


Speak Truth to Children

Lois Lowry is an internationally known author of children’s literature. She has twice received the Newbery Medal, for Number the Stars in 1990 and for The Giver in 1994. Lowry will speak at Theatre of Youth on Sunday, April 1 at 10am and at 2pm following performances of TOY’s The Giver, based on her novel. Recently Lowry spoke with Artvoice:

Book Reviews

The Religious and Other Fictions by Christina Milletti

by Ted Pelton

The short story is a genre that may well be said to be in flux these days. Slick magazines which used to have stories as part of their regular formats have been phasing them out in recent years, and book publishers are less likely than ever to publish debut collections, with readers said to be more interested today in things that have “actually happened.” But on another part of the terrain are the legions of practitioners of the new and increasingly popular form known alternately as “flash fiction,” the “short-short,” “sudden fiction” and the like. These practitioners have been influenced by the plethora of new venues for fiction available via the internet, a medium less friendly to the traditional-length story, encouraging works which can appear in their entirety without much scrolling down the page. At the same time, flash fiction more and more frequently is practiced via an aesthetic merging with the prose poem, its writers eschewing the complexities of interwoven plots for those arising from the more compression-related techniques of image, language-play and indeterminate resolutions.


by Anthony Chase

Samuel Beckett was notoriously opposed to productions of his plays that took liberties of any kind with his scripts. When JoAnne Akalaitis set a production of Endgame in an abandoned subway station and commissioned a brief overture from Philip Glass, Beckett objected that his play had been “musicalized.’’ He also objected to the casting of two black actors as Hamm and Nagg.


Quick! Change!

by Thomas Dooney

Jessica Jahn, a costume designer early in her career, steps up to a unique set of challenges in The Mystery of Irma Vep. The show is a melodramatic spoof about characters with cursed backgrounds who cross paths at a haunted manor house. On the moors. On a dark and stormy night.


by Javier

The fabulous Megan Mullally (pictured above) will be back on Broadway next season in the new Mel Brooks musical Young Frankenstein, the stage adaptation of his popular 1974 movie. Mullally will play the doctor’s fiancée, the part created by the late Madeline Kahn. Young Frankenstein has been booked for the St. James Theatre, current home of The Producers, which is scheduled to close on April 22 after a successful six-year run. Mullally, whose TV talk show was recently canceled, was last seen on Broadway as Rosemary in the 1995 revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Puck Stop

Why Not Winnipeg?

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

Making headlines this past week is that Pittsburgh has finally come to an agreement to keep the Penguins in town for 30 more years. Construction will commence this spring on a new venue to replace the crumbling Mellon Arena, opening in time for the 2009-10 season.

Five Questions For...

Michael Mulley

Celebrating its tenth anniversary in October, Michael Mulley’s College Street Gallery (244 Allen Street, 882-9727, epitomizes the small gallery aesthetic in Buffalo: The walls feature the work of remarkable local artists, Mulley included, who struggle to get the attention they deserve elsewhere; it hosts great, often raucous openings; it hangs on by the skin of its teeth. Currently Mulley, a photographer, is exhibiting a series of photos of Allentown in the 1930s, which he acquired from the Allentown Association and printed. In April there will be a show of work and an in-gallery performance by John Lombardo. Booked solid through the summer, the gallery’s busiest months lie ahead—and now Mulley has opened a second space, Queen City Gallery, on the first floor of the Market Arcade Building (617 Main Street, 11am-4pm, 856-2839). Whereas the College Street Gallery showcases work by other artists, as well as Mulley’s photographs, the smaller Queen City Gallery is devoted, at least for the time being, to Mulley’s work—specifically his photographs of Buffalo landmarks, past and present. There’s a grand opening on Friday, March 16, 5-9pm. Artvoice stopped in at Queen City Gallery to talk with Mulley this week:

Design Matters

A Building Breathing

by Albert Chao

Half organism and half machine, the newly completed San Francisco Federal Building (pictured below) towers 18 stories high but is only 60 feet wide. Completed recently in 2006, the building is a testimony to new approaches to architecture, both in sustainability and also in the journey from design to built form.

Film Reviews

Streets of Jerusalem: Close to Home

by George Sax

At the beginning of Close to Home, a disgusted, mutinous member of the Israeli army disrupts the Palestinian-screening operations of a border-crossing facility. This young woman, fed up with the lengthy, intrusive examination of Arabs seeking to enter or exit Israel, summarily dismisses the woman with her in an interrogation booth, and then loudly tells all the people waiting outside to leave without processing. She ends up court-martialed and imprisoned.

Film Clips

I Think I Love My Wife

by M. Faust

Chris Rock’s second film as a director is this remake of an early 1970s movie about a middle-class man considering sexual alternatives to his comfortable but sedate marriage. I refer not to the Elliot Gould vehicle I Love My…Wife (an understandable mistake, given the title and plot) but to Eric Rohmer’s 1972 Chloe in the Afternoon, considered by many to be one of the very best of the great French director’s films. I could easily fill a column comparing the original and the remake, that being the kind of thing that a degree in English literature trains one to do. But what’s the point, given that Eric Rohmer fans and Chris Rock fans are as close as you can get to a pair of mutually exclusive subsets? Suffice to say that any of you willing to make that crossover shouldn’t be too disappointed: Rock’s fans will find enough mildly raunchy humor to appeal to them, while Rohmer fans ought to be able to appreciate how Rock and collaborator Louis C. K. have adapted his study of bourgeois morality not only to a different era but to a black consciousness as well. Cast aside the plot, in which Wall Street success Rock is tempted to stray by the ex-girlfriend of a friend from his single days, and there’s a lot to enjoy here in the casual details of black middle-class life, from the couples dinners that always seem to involve the same conversations (rap is tacky, blacks ought to take some lessons from the Jews, and what the hell is wrong with Michael anyway?) to wondering how many other black children will be at a weekend play date. And Rock is smart enough to carry over some of Rohmer’s more universal observations, like the odd intimacy of shopping for clothing to the joys of exploring a big city when you have the sense to stay away from the crowded places.


Pulling No Punches: 300

by M. Faust

Less than 12 hours after spending an evening watching Gerard Butler, as the Spartan king Leonides, hack, dismember and otherwise dispatch a few thousand Persian warriors, I’m sitting at a table with him at a Los Angeles hotel posing a poorly phrased question. It has to do with the cliché about stage-trained actors being told by film directors to “bring it down” for the camera. Giving the outsized nature of Butler’s performance in the smash hit 300, I venture a guess that this was something he never heard from the film’s director, Zack Snyder.

Got Live If You Want It


Agig at Merlin’s has become a right of passage to many of the city’s fledgling bands over the last several years. By opening their doors to hungry upstarts, the club has become an unpretentious and exciting hub where acts can network and build a following in an intimate setting. We caught up with booking agent Curt Rotterdam and asked him to tell us a bit about the club and his overall approach to carving out a scene.

See You There

Maria Taylor

by Eric Boucher

The Wake

by Anthony Chase

Charlie Hunter Trio

by Buck Quigley

Mozart Was a Punk: Nathan Granner & Beau Bledsoe

by Caitlin Derose

Calendar Spotlight


Phil Dillon



Spiritual Rez

Bitch and the Exciting Conclusion

Man Man

The Advice Goddess

by Amy Alkon

I turned 38 last week, and through some introspection, realized I’m unfulfilled. I thought a girls’ night out might help. The last thing I wanted was attention from men. Of course, at the bar, I ended up getting hit on by a 50-something overweight man. Shortly after introducing himself, he told me I have a lovely figure and began guessing my height, weight and measurements (including bra size!). Then he asked me my age! Outraged, I said my stats were none of his concern, and that if he’s in the habit of treating women like sexual objects he should take his chauvinistic attitude elsewhere. Then I slapped his face, and told him it was on behalf of all the women who’ve had to endure his offensive pickup lines. He walked sheepishly back to his laughing buddies. My friends gave me “you go, girl” high fives, but said I seemed a little on edge lately. If they’re right, do you know some good techniques to find inner peace?