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The News, Briefly

Strange Investigation

by Dorothea Braemer

At a hearing on December 18 in the Federal Courthouse in downtown Buffalo, US District Judge Richard Arcara postponed legal arguments in the more than three-and-a-half-year-old case against UB professor and internationally acclaimed artist Steve Kurtz because the prosecution lacked a key piece of evidence. The hearing, scheduled on account of a motion to dismiss the case, was open to the public. The courtroom was filled with reporters and many supporters of Kurtz.

Still Life

Gallery Show

Still Life gallery show on view Jan. 10th through Feb. 3rd at College St. Gallery, 244 Allen St. Opening reception on Jan. 18th at 7pm.

Mardi Gras 2008

Join us on Fat Tuesday for the 12th annual Artvoice Mardi Gras Parade! Please register your ideas for a parade float or decorated vehicle. All are welcome, groups and individuals. Promote yourself, your business, club or organization.

Letters to Artvoice

Artvoice’s 12/20 cover story, “The Age of the Loan Drones,” neglects one very important fact when talking about its main character, a student who owes approximately $150,000 in loan debt. The student in question attended Argosy University, which is an educational chain store owned by for-profit Education Management Corporation of Pittsburgh. The Phoenix Argosy University campus in question is one of 81 EMC facilities that together claim 96,000 customers or students. EMC’s Argosy brand, which was formed in 2001, doesn’t seem to command the same respect from employers as do traditional, established, respected institutions of higher education that employ accomplished, tenure-track professors to teach classes on comprehensive research campuses.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Pink Justice: In parts of India’s Uttar Pradesh state, according to a November BBC News dispatch, women are hopelessly oppressed by poverty, abusive husbands and corrupt officials, but two years ago, Ms. Sampat Pal Devi got fed up. She organized bands of vigilante women (with several hundred members), dressed in pink saris, to protect their sisters using both nonviolence (heaping public shame on wrongdoers) and violence (with axes and the traditional Indian stick, the “lathi”). Said Sampat Devi, “Village society in India…refuses to educate (women), marries them off too early (age nine, in her case), barters them for money. Village women need to study and become independent to sort it out themselves.”

See You There

Winter Classic House Party

by Peter Koch

The Fems

by Buck Quigley

Queen City Roller Girls

by K. O'Day

Syd Barrett Tribute: The Madcap Laughs

by Geoff Kelly

Calendar Spotlight

John Cowan


King Sunshine

Brian Regan

Harmonia Chamber Singers' "Gaudete!"


Saving Studio Arena

by Anthony Chase

It all started out very happily. When Kathleen Gaffney accepted the artistic director position at Studio Arena Theatre, the Niagara Falls native was told that she had the full support of the board of directors and that she could expect to be embraced by the community. She was assured that while the finances were a concern, the theater was not in a state of crisis. The board of directors liked her dynamic style, and they were eager to tap into that Kathleen Gaffney charisma. Her image was put forward as the new face of a revitalized Studio Arena Theatre. Working alongside managing director Ken Neufeld, she began to plan for the next chapter in the history of a venerable Buffalo institution.

Film Reviews

Mr. Wilson's World Order: Charlie Wilson's War

by George Sax

Well, finally the American film industry has done it. At last, there’s a movie about American foreign policies and programs in the Middle East and West Asia, in Iraq and Afghanistan, that Americans can feel good about.

Film Clips


The Water Horse


Movie Times


The Best Albums of 2007

From the first listen to the band’s 2004 debut Funeral, there was little question that the Arcade Fire was special. That album’s balance of art-rock aesthetic with a massed, multi-instrumental collective teeming with equal parts of despair and hope signaled this band was capable of big things. They fulfilled the promise two and a half short years later. Neon Bible is nothing shy of marvelous. It takes the band’s baroque orch pop sprawl and spreads it over a wider canvas with a framework of scrupulously played songs with hypnotic and detailed arrangements. Thematically, Neon Bible delves into populism, personal failure, existentialism, religion and vast societal pressures with true grace and matched power. The haunting opener “Black Mirror” serves to unravel a mysterious, archaic oracle as Butler calls out in a tortured vox switching between English and French over a driving beat. “Intervention” is a bombastic and beautiful epic led by Chassagne on a gigantic pipe organ, while Butler makes like a post-modern Springsteen—a noted influence on the songwriting on Neon Bible—aiming at populism with a conscience. With the couplet “Who’s gonna throw the very first stone?/Who’s going to reset the bone?” Butler lays plain a link between wrongdoing and redemption. “Antichrist Televison Blues” at first listen appears a folked-up slip of acoustic rock but boils over into a protest anthem embroiled in post-9/11 paranoia, religious fervor and media-crippled delusion. A revamped version of “No Cars Go” returns from the band’s self-titled EP, remaking the stripped, elegiac song with big elegant orchestration. The dirgey closer “My Body Is Cage” again features the massive pipe organ and sounds like either a prayer or plea to excising worldly woes and spiritual confinement. Neon Bible bears the signs of the kind of art that is likely to stand long after fleeting fame erodes.

Book Reviews

Sleeping and Walking by Michael O'Brien

by Josh Weinstein

Imagine your amazement at a monarch butterfly lighting on your shoulder in a subway station, the faint tune of your next favorite song playing in your head, and you’ll begin to feel what it’s like to read Michael O’Brien’s new book of poems. Spare and imagistic, vivid haiku-inspired poems such as “After Ôtaka Gengo Tadasuke” give way to short-lined lyrics such as “What She Does” that drip with the experience of the everyday as intensity and all-too-tragic beauty. The final lines of the latter poem are typical of his grasp of the living image in our natural environment:

Chew On This

by Peter Koch

We’ve said it before, but the restaurant business is a real revolving door. Restaurants come and they go, but rarely do they stay for dinner. In fact, according to an Ohio State University study conducted in the late 1990s, nearly two-thirds of all restaurants fail in their first three years. That said, though, this year’s openings and closings seem to indicate a strengthening culinary scene in the Queen City, as new food entries far outweigh closings. Please forgive us for not making this list entirely comprehensive, as all that holiday nog may have made us a bit forgetful.

Puck Stop

2007 in Sports

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

Each year we get the chance to sift through dozens of interesting sports stories to pick our favorites for an end-of-year column, and this year is no different. Here in Buffalo in 2007, the Sabres’ run for the Stanley Cup fell short again, Niagara University made it to the Big Dance, the NCAAs came to Buffalo, the Bills overcame an 0-3 start and two devastating last-second losses to make a respectable season, and the Bisons were a big snooze on the field, though their 20th-year downtown party was awesome.

You Auto Know

G'Day Mate, It's the New G8

by Jim Corbran

If the accompanying photo looks vaguely familiar, advance yourself to the front of the class. Just a few short years ago, Pontiac tried shortcutting the design and development process involved in bringing a new model by dipping into General Motors’ Australian inventory and pulling out a Holden Monaro coupe (the two-door version of the Holden Commodore). Slap on a Pontiac grille, call it a GTO and watch them fly out of the showrooms. At least it sounded good on paper. The Monaro/GTO, a spiffy performance car, was not too easy on the eyes. Not ugly, mind you; just blah. So the newest GTO screamed quietly off into the sunset after a mere two years and a modest 25,000 or so sales.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): The Greek philosopher Aristotle said that when new facts and ideas emerge, we should be willing to coin fresh words to convey the unfamiliar information. Do you agree? If so, be ready to dream up a steady stream of new terms in 2008. I bet you’ll encounter more novelty than you have since 1996. Dead language and stale clichés won’t be sufficient to wrestle the meaning out of your unprecedented experiences. To jumpstart your receptivity to made-up words, try this one: freakomancy. It refers to the art of divining the future by noticing the most unusual and anomalous elements present in any given situation.

Ask Anyone

I am a judge. It is important that I not be distracted while hearing cases. That is the first among many reasons that cell phones are banned in my courtroom. There are signs clearly indicating that they are to be turned off while court is in session, admonitions that are regularly ignored. Some time ago, during a tricky hearing, a cell phone rang in my courtroom. I asked who it belonged to, and no one answered. I then asked each person in the courtroom, one at a time, if his or her cell phone had rung. Everyone denied it. I grew furious—these people are adults, after all, and I am a judge in a court of law and entitled to the truth—and it’s possible a let my fury get the better of me: I held everyone in the courtroom in contempt, threw them all in jail. I’ve lost my job for what I did, at least temporarily, but I want to know if others think I am justified in what I did, or if I could have addressed the issue in another way.