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Cover Story

Polonia on Parade

by Geoff Kelly

South Bend, Indiana has long maintained a spurious claim to the title, but the organizers of Dyngus Day Buffalo know the truth: Buffalo is the Dyngus Day capital of the world.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): On April 1, 1976, British astronomer Patrick Moore told his radio listeners that a rare configuration of Jupiter and Pluto was occurring. So dramatically would it affect Earth’s gravity, he said, that they might feel lighter than usual, and perhaps even be able to float up into the air. I’m wondering if we can expect a similar phenomena this week. There’s a rare grand trine in fire signs, with Jupiter in Sagittarius, Saturn in Leo and the sun in Aries. Especially for you, the buoyancy factor will be in full play and levels of levity will be at a maximum. If you can’t actually fly, you’ll probably get higher than you’ve been in a long time.


Bass Pro

by Joe Mattimore

After six years of talk, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has announced a deal with Bass Pro. The basics: ECHDC will spend $25 million in public money to prepare the site and to help Bass Pro to build a 100,000-square-foot store beside the rewatered Commercial Slip in the historic Canal District; $10 million in public money will be used to tear down Memorial Auditorium; and Benderson Development will be designated developer for the entire Canal District, the Aud site and a couple other vacant blocks linking the Canal District to downtown Buffalo. Historic preservationists say that a big retail outlet is not what they had in mind when they stopped backhoes from destroying the archaeological remains of the western terminus of the Erie Canal six years ago. What does the rest of Buffalo think?

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ The West Tennessee Detention Facility (Mason, Tenn.) made a video pitch for California inmates, hoping some would volunteer to be outsourced under that state’s program to relieve overcrowding. The hard-timers should come east, the video urged, because of West Tennessee’s “larger and cleaner jail cells, 79 TV channels, including ESPN, views of peaceful cow pastures, and…the ‘Dorm of the Week,’ (with its inmates) staying up all night, watching a movie and eating cheeseburgers or pizza,” according to a March description in Nashville’s Tennessean. “You’re not a number here,” said one inmate. “You come here, it’s personalized.” (California’s outsourcing program is facing a lawsuit from the prison guards’ union, anxious about job loss.)

Letters to Artvoice

As a long-time resident of the East Side, I can say my reaction to Rod McCallum’s project was mixed (“The City Bountiful,” Artvoice v6n13). In a nutshell the problem is that every aspect of the project is exciting and progressive, but I fear that this is just going to be the first wave of the “progressive” middle-class types who come from West Side Buffalo, North Buffalo, Amherst, Clarence, Tonawanda, etc. who don’t live here now but will very soon and who actually will succeed in getting a lot of great things done, while the long-time residents who live here now will get pushed out as you all buy up the houses we can’t afford to keep up with. I don’t think Mr. McCallum is a sinister person or has sinister motives but gentrification is a reality. One big criticism I have, for instance, is how the first news of this happening is in the Artvoice and not the Challenger! It was encouraging that you mentioned how the spot in question is right around the corner from the African-American Cultural Center but it would be nice to know if he plans to have any community information meetings at the center about what he’s doing—or, even better, at the brand new library on Jefferson.


Good Day Sunshine

by Buck Quigley

While still in his 20s, Harvard student and Stanford graduate Denis Hayes was selected by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to serve as the national coordinator of the first Earth Day, held April 22, 1970. Modeled after anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, this initial event tapped into grassroots sentiment and mobilized 20 million peaceful demonstrators across the country, all advocating environmental reform. In its wake, the demonstrations helped sway politicians to pass legislation like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

The News, Briefly

City Parks, Ethanol and Shopping Carts

by Geoff Kelly

Odds and Ends

by Geoff Kelly

Bye-Bye, Bottle Bill

by Buck Quigley

Fine Dining

The Fire Inside: Torches

by Marla Crouse

Set in a modest building on Kenmore Avenue, Torches is a new addition to Buffalo’s burgeoning restaurant scene. You enter through a narrow section of the building furnished with three slate tables and low chairs in front of a free-standing fireplace. On the wall the fire casts the first evidence of restaurant’s motif: Bands of light flicker in yellow, red and orange, making you feel as if you were in the midst of the flames.


Words and Music

by Thomas Dooney

Heather Violanti never set out to write a musical. She is, indeed, a playwright, and does hope for a career writing within her métier. Moreover, she has significant credentials as a dramaturge with impressive training and experience in that discipline. Violanti’s preference is for works of the classic avant garde, especially the good old days of Paris’s Banquet Years, and for Elizabethan theater, especially murky problem dramas.

Book Reviews

Words Without Borders: The World Through the Eyes of Writers

by Laura Nathan

My Thieves: Poems by Ethan Paquin

by Peter Conners

You Auto Know

Zoom-Zoom With Room

by Jim Corbran

Although I’m the first one to complain about people driving big ol’ cars “just because they can,” there are those out there who need room for more than four people in their everyday ride. After all, not every family is composed of a mom, a dad, and two kids.

Play Ball!

Has It Really Been 20 Years?

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

Bisons VP/General Manager Mike Buczkowski said it all when he remarked, “I sat in at the interns meeting the other day, looked around the room and it dawned on me that most of these young people hadn’t even been born when we had our first game here.”

Design Matters

City of Lights

by Albert Chao

Nikola Tesla, at the end of the 19th century, invented a new means to transfer electricity via alternating current power transmission. Utilizing this technology, Buffalo, as a part of the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, transferred power from Niagara Falls to become the first city in the country to have electric streetlights. Buffalo, a modern marvel, was dubbed the “City of Lights.”

Film Reviews

The Lord Don't Take No Mess: The Reaping

by M. Faust

Creative Writing Project: The Hoax

by George Sax

Left of the Dial

Neil Young: Live at Massey Hall 1971

The Hidden Hand: The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote

See You There

O.A.R. (Of a Revolution)

by Shaun Smith

Small Sails

by K. O' Day

Tarbox Ramblers

by Buck Quigley

Headlights/Page France

by Eric Boucher


Pere Ubu

by Bill Nehill

Few bands can rival the influence that Pere Ubu has had on the underground music scene, both here and abroad. Led by the charismatic David Thomas, the band’s off-kilter, avant-garde garage rock predated the postpunk of such seminal bands as Joy Division, Gang of Four, Wire and Public Image Ltd by at least two years. With haunting dissonance and deconstructed rhythms layered below Thomas’ intensely paranoid voice, Pere Ubu’s pioneering sound has spread far and wide. Their influence has continued some thirty years on and has continued to inspire the likes of Nick Cave, Wilco and Mercury Rev.

Calendar Spotlight


The Instant Composers Pool

Johnny Lives!


The Full Blast Trio

Dan Potthast

The Advice Goddess

by Amy Alkon

Your advice to the woman who slapped the man in the bar who tried to guess her age, weight and bra size was completely disgraceful. Yes, she overreacted somewhat; however, your comment “To avoid attention from men, hold girls’ night out in a convent, not a bar” was appalling. The conversation was obnoxious no matter how drunk the guy was. I don’t feel she acted like a victim, but like a woman strong enough to handle herself. For that I applaud her! Women and men alike should be able to go anywhere and be treated with respect. My guess is that you believe women should also expect to be raped if they go through the wrong part of town!