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Cover Story

Biennial X 2

by Becky Moda & Eric Jackson-Forsberg

Last week, the biennial Beyond/In Western New York exhibition opened in major 12 galleries throughout the Buffalo/Niagara region. The exhibition features the work of 50 artists and is the fruit of two years of collaborative work involving the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Big Orbit, Buffalo Arts Studio, the Burchfield-Penney, the Carnegie Art Center, the Castellani, CEPA, El Museo, Hallwalls, Squeaky Wheel, the UB Anderson Gallery and the UB Center for the Arts. Beyond/In serves as a cultural exchange between the local curators and artists in Western New York and the adjacent communities of Southern Ontario, Northern Ohio and Central New York.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Here’s a brief mythic history of the birch tree, according to Philip Carr-Gomm’s book Druid Mysteries. The birch used to be called the pioneer tree because it was often the first tree planted on virgin soil, and so in a sense gave birth to the forest. The word “birch” is derived from a root meaning “bright” or “shining” in Indo-European languages. In Britain, birches were made into maypoles, which celebrants danced around during the fertility feast of Beltane. Siberian shamans, at the climax of their initiation ceremonies, climbed a birch tree, circling its trunk nine times. In the spirit of this rich folklore, Libra, I nominate the birch to be your tree of power as you begin a phase of bright beginnings and exuberant fertility.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ In August, a Roman Catholic bishop in the Netherlands, Martinus Muskens, suggested that Christians start referring to God as “Allah” as a way of relieving world tensions. “Allah is a very beautiful word.…What does God care what we call him? It is our problem.” A priest in Rome said Muskens’ intentions were good, “but his theology needs a little fine-tuning.” Muskens said he spent eight years in Indonesia, where Catholic priests used “Allah” during Mass.

Getting a Grip

Would You Buy a Used War From This Man?

by Michael I. Niman

It’s a tough sell, to say the least. But with the war against Iraq now entering its fifth year, with it having lasted longer than US involvement in the Second World War, and with no objectives met save for executing Saddam Hussein—who incidentally would have been the most useful witness in any prosecution of the Bush Sr. and Reagan administrations for complicity with Saddam in crimes against humanity in the 1980s—the Bush administration is still asking us to feed trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives into the black hole of an endless war that he created. What gall.


Let's Take the High Road

by Sam Magavern

Recently, Buffalo awoke to find that it had become the second-poorest major city in the nation, trailing only Detroit. We are also second in rate of abandoned properties, right behind St. Louis. Everyone agrees that we are a city in need of some economic development. But what type of economic development do we need? As debates about the casino and Bass Pro demonstrate, the answers to this question vary widely. Most observers, however, would probably agree that the current system is not working well and could benefit from vigorous public discussion and reform.

The News, Briefly

The Garden Gnome

by Geoff Kelly

Friends and neighbors have appreciated Jean Dickson’s front yard garden at Crescent and Parkside for years, but never before this week had it drawn such an illustrious stream of city officials. First James Comerford, deputy commissioner for economic development, permit and inspection services, came by for a look; then Gary Ziolkowski, the city’s chief building inspector; then Commissioner Rich Tobe, their boss. Finally, about eight o’clock on Tuesday night, Mayor Byron Brown stopped by, unannounced, and rang Dickson’s bell. He apologized for the trouble she’d had since last summer, when a neighbor’s complaint launched a series of visits and confusing dictates from a city housing inspector, who returned this summer and recently told her that he was sending her to housing court.


by Anthony Chase

They produce musicals lavishly at the Paul Robeson Theatre, and they certainly have not skimped on their current musical revue, It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues, which boasts an onstage jazz band and a cast of six. Frazier Tom Smith has provided the musical direction. Mary Craig has directed and the very handsome set is by Harlan Penn. This is a hot evening of entertainment, in which the capable cast takes us on a cruise of blues history, one song after another, from traditional African music to late 20th-century popular music. Along the way we hit “St. Louis Blues”; “Let the Good Times Roll”; Hank Williams’ “Mind Your Own Business”; the Patsy Cline hit, “Walking After Midnight”; the Peggy Lee hit “Fever”; the disturbing yet haunting “Strange Fruit”; “Goodnight, Irene”; and at least a dozen more.


by Javier

The fabulous Rosie Perez (pictured above) is back on Broadway starring as Googie Gomez in the revival of Terrence McNally’s The Ritz. The play first opened back in 1975 with Rita Moreno earning a Tony award for her performance as Googie. Perez made her Broadway debut in 2003 in another McNally play, when she took over for Edie Falco in the acclaimed production of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair the Lune. An Oscar nominee for her role in Fearless, Perez was also nominated for a NAACP Award for her performance in the HBO film Lackawanna Blues, based on Ruben Santiago Hudson’s one-man play.

You Auto Know

Just for Fun

by Jim Corbran

Last time we looked at a few significant new 2008 models. This week we’ll check out a few more vehicles that are just as new, but you won’t see them here for a while (if ever).

Design Matters

The Meaning of Scribbles

by Albert Chao

In the board game Pictionary, one rule applies: Speak only through drawing. Each player, whether gifted with the artistic hand of Leonardo da Vinci or that of a four-year-old, is allotted an hourglass of sand to produce scratches and scribbles to convey an idea.


Why I Hate Shaving

by Harold Rain

Oh hell, its time to shave again, a drudge I suffer weekly.

Disgusting stubble peeks out from my skin, if only meekly.

I never seem to have the time for this abhorrent chore;

Perhaps I would, if every week, I did it six times more.


More Movies Than You Can Shake a Stick At

by M. Faust

Let’s see: In the first part of my coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival I covered nine of the films I saw in about 2,500 words. With 29 left to do, I had clearly better pick up the pace.

Film Reviews

Stuff Happens, Again and Again: No End in Sight

by George Sax

There’s a brief amateur video sequence in Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight, shot by unidentified private security guards in Baghdad around three years ago. Someone inside an armored vehicle has aimed a camera at the windshield as someone else fires an automatic weapon at passing civilian cars, apparently at random. The cars crash as the guards’ vehicle speeds on and laughter is heard.

Film Clips

In the Shadow of the Moon

The Kingdom

See You There

Michael Moore

by Carl Mrozek

Bill McKibben

by Peter Koch

The Actual Facts with Mark Norris & the Backpeddlers and the Stay Outs

by Stuart Radcliffe

Qui featuring David Yow

by Eric Boucher


The End of the Story

by Mike Shanley

John Vanderslice’s songs have been compared to novels, since his lyrics quickly establish storylines with narrators caught in scenes with dilemmas that guide their lives, for better or worse. He’s sung from the perspective of a Guantanamo guard, a father identifying his son at the morgue, a lover whose partner has kept him from suicide and a would-be anti-government activist.

Calendar Spotlight

Jack Rose

Koffin Kats

David Sedaris

by Brad Deck

Oakley Hall

by Donny Kutzbach

Yip Yip

Ask Anyone

I have a friend and co-worker who recently lost a lot of weight due to a gastric bypass operation. She has gone from being one of the best friends a person could have to being a complete horror. She has alienated almost everyone with catty comments, constant partying, drug use and obnoxious public behavior. She’s been accused of theft both at the office and at friends’ homes, she goes out every night, is using a lot of cocaine, is late for work all the time, and has gone from shy and demure to extremely promiscuous. She’s even traded sex for drugs in cheap encounters in bar parking lots (at least one incident of this was confirmed by the woman herself). Anyone who says anything disapproving to her is accused of being jealous—of what I don’t know—and she really seems to think that her friends are just used to taking her for granted as someone who never had anything to do and never got any attention. Nobody wants to participate in this behavior or watch it continue, so most people have just cut her off. Some friends and family members think an intervention is in order, but it’s not really the drugs or drinking, it’s the sleaziness that’s hardest to deal with. Can you have an intervention with someone for being skanky? —Fed Up