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Cover Story

Failed State Diary

by Brian Higgins

As a member of the United States House of Representatives Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, I was invited to travel with a couple of my colleagues to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chad. In early September I made that trip along with Representatives Stephen Lynch, a Democrat from Massachusetts and Todd Platts, a Republican from Pennsylvania.

Letters to Artvoice

You’ve got to be kidding me—the amount of wasted time spent by the city to pursue Ms. Dickson (“The Garden Gnome,” Artvoice v6n39)!

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Would you be willing to get down on your knees in the dirt and howl out adamant prayers? Would you be crazy enough and sane enough to beg the gods, muses and guardian angels to dissolve anything that’s interfering with your ability to be your authentic self and live the life you were born to live? Until you do, you may have to tolerate being less than authentic and living only part of the life you were born to live. The good news is that it’s a perfect moment to start smashing the obstructions to your happiness.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Ralph Whittington, 57, retired in 2000 as curator of the main reading room at the Library of Congress, but was better known as the “King of Porn” for his private collection that he recently sold (500 boxes’ worth) to the Museum of Sex in New York City. Whittington’s home (which he shares with his mother, after his wife left him) was, before the sale, “packed to the rafters,” said the museum’s buyer to the Washington Post in August. “Downstairs, you had to walk sideways to get through the rooms.” Said Mom, “It’s something he loves. You see men his age going to bars or on dope. But he (was) home day and night (indexing and cross-referencing). That (gave) me peace of mind.”

It Works There

So Many We Can't Give 'Em Away

by Peter Koch

Though you’re probably not aware of it, the city has been giving away homes and vacant lots of land to responsible and willing citizens for years. Tucked into the city’s real estate office, the Urban Homestead Program has been very successful at helping homeowners grow their property by homesteading adjacent vacant lots. On the other hand, it has had little luck homesteading its own, vacant residential homes. One West Side community organization—PUSH Buffalo—is proposing a plan that builds on the current homesteading program to make it a more effective community stabilizer.

Getting a Grip

It's Burma, Damn It!

by Michael I. Niman

Last Sunday’s Buffalo News sports a front-page AP wire service story about Burma’s nonviolent democratic uprising—its Saffron Revolution. But the article never mentions “Burma.” Kowtowing to the Burmese dictatorship, the AP dateline reads, “YANGON, Myanmar.” Outside of the US, most media outlets reported similar stories, but their datelines read, “RANGOON, Burma.” It’s no wonder American kids score dead last in global geography.

In the Margins

Solomon Sparrow's Electric Whale Revival

by Buck Quigley

Wolves & Brothers

by Gina Meyers

Design Matters

Buildings Talk

by Albert Chao

Daniel Libeskind, internationally renowned architect, may catch a glimpse of his own drawings in the exhibit Drawing Architecture at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on Thursday, October 4, when he comes to town to deliver a lecture. Catapulted into fame in 2003 by his winning proposal for the World Trade Center site competition, Libeskind’s projects have included numerous civic centers, such as the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Denver Art Museum. Libeskind’s architectural forms continue to capture the public’s eye with magnificently profound, if not equally angular and eccentric forms.

Puck Stop

Just In Case Harry Changes His Mind

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

The sudden departure of long-time color analyst Jim Lorentz sent shock waves through the Sabres organization last week. After 26 years of serving as a member of the broadcast team, Lorentz walked away, citing his unwillingness to participate in what he deemed “a grueling travel schedule.”


by Anthony Chase

Terrence McNally’s new play, Some Men, begins with two men exchanging wedding vows at the Waldorf Astoria while the guests contemplate their own loves and lives. The tale then reverses gears and sends us vaulting through an historical kaleidoscope, examining same-sex lives and love by way of a tour through some of the major events of 20th-century gay history.


Into the Biennial

by Becky Moda & Eric Jackson-Forsberg

Beyond/In Western New York at Big Orbit Gallery features two contrasting, video-based installations. Deirdre Logue’s Rough Count is a multi-channel installation documenting a seemingly simple act: counting. A year ago, Logue embarked on a sort of OCD performance project—to count all the pieces of confetti in a bag, then re-count them, with the goal of reaching exactly the same number each time. The installation documents this project through nine monitors installed in a grid, each showing a different attempt at counting. The cacophony of the overlapping sound from these multiple attempts makes it impossible to follow along and soon drives the viewer to distraction. The installation also includes two framed scratchpad pages with multiple tallies covering them—apparently, Logue’s informal, graphic record of progress and defeat in her ongoing campaign. We soon realize that “rough count” is an ironic title; the process is certainly hard on the counter, but the count is anything but rough. Logue’s text indicates that the work is “dedicated to the infinite and the endless.” But it is also about human failing and frustration in not being able to reach the infinite or even quantify a small portion of vastness in something as non-threatening as a pile of paper disks.


The Unlikely Hero of Late Night

by Brad Deck

In the 15 years since Craig Ferguson emigrated from Scotland to the US, he has managed to make quite a name for himself. The actor/musician/writer/director/comedian/talk-show host, best known for his role as the Snooty Brit Nigel Wick on ABCs long-running sitcom The Drew Carey Show, has been the host The Late Late Show on CBS for nearly three years. Feguson is currently on a nationwide standup tour, which stops at UB’s Center for the Arts ( on Friday, October 5, at 8pm.

Good Eats

Who Loves the Sun?: Solé

by Bridget Kelly

The restaurant’s tagline is “Sun-inspired cocktails and cuisine,” so I really wasn’t quite sure what I should expect when I got here. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is simply a nice place that serves nice food well presented; the general idea is that the food will be vaguely South American, but if they have a good idea for something Caribbean, they’ll make that, too. Mostly, it seems, the theme is that one should not be such a slave to one’s theme that you neglect to serve good food. Which, I might mention, is something some restaurants seem to forget.

Film Reviews

Second Time Unlucky: The Heartbreak Kid

by M. Faust

Why do they bother remaking classic films for audiences who won’t remember them? I’ll bet that the bulk of the demographic for Ben Stiller movies will have no idea that The Heartbreak Kid is based on one of the great American comedies of the 1970s—and if they are, they probably won’t have seen it. (The DVD has been out of print for a few years.)

Film Clips

The Jane Austen Book Club

by George Sax

My gosh, the way they’ve been turning out product based on the life and work of that Jane Austen woman you could easily think her novels had some real merit! I mean, just look at all the Austen-type stuff that’s been on the market over the last 10 years or so: movies, TV shows, books—fiction and nonfiction. You don’t think there’s really something solid behind this Austen popularity, do you?

Left of the Dial

The Avett Brothers: Emotionalism

Swizz Beatz: One Man Band Man

See You There

Do Make Say Think

by Donny Kutzbach

The Donnas

by Caitlin DeRose

100 Years of Italian Heritage

by Michelle Poswy

Tour of Solar Homes & Green Buildings

by Peter Koch

Calendar Spotlight

Eric Lindell Band

The Morvells

Super 400

Man Man

Henry Rollins

by Brad Deck

Wolf Eyes