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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of events to watch out for the week, including our editor's pick: the Elmwood Festival of the Arts, taking place this weekend. If you haven't already, be sure to check out our new and improved events calendar on-line for complete event listings, a location guide to find your way about the city, restaurant reviews, and more.

Elmwood Festival of the Arts

Saturday August 29th & Sunday August 30th

It’s that time of year again, when Elmwood will be blocked off from West Ferry to Lafayette to make way for the best of what this city has to offer in various arenas—art, song, dance, and food. All the mainstays will be there. The artist’s market, the dance tent and the festival café will all be shilling their wares and seducing passers by with their crafts. For the adults, there is a new After Hours concert on the Lafayette Stage at 6:30 PM on Saturday featuring Artvoice award-winning band The Skiffle Minstrels, a self-described “hillbilly, rockabilly and honky-tonk” band. The dance tent at the United Universalist Church will tout such acts as Peanut Brittle Satellite, The Painkillers and Steam Donkeys, to name a few. Be prepared to get down and mess around with back-to-back acts all day. Other stages will be hosting some noteworthy groups: Nelson Starr & the Benjamins, Stone Country Band, Buffalo Contemporary Dance, and Jenny Mae’s Jazz Trio. And that’s only the beginning. For good eats (events like this in a city like this can’t subsist without them), there will be food from Fat Bob’s Smokehouse, Mineo & Sapio Italian Sausage, Vegetarian Oasis, and the Lexington Coop.

Finally, this year the festival has become even more green around the edges. It will now include a recycling and food-composting program through the use of 50 recycling bins throughout the festival and a troop of volunteer recyclers and garbage collectors to keep the whole thing sorted. A solar-powered stage will also be a first for Western New York, which will be home to the Great Renewable Energy Road Show, who will be extolling the virtues of solar power at home. It’ll be hard to miss, in more ways than one.

—ann marie awad

10am-6pm Saturday & 10am-5pm Sunday, August 29-30. Visit for full schedule of events both days

Thursday, August 27th

Image Presents a Youth Hip-Hopera

The IMAGE in the after-school program’s name, IMAGE Urban Arts Workshop, stands for Individuals Motivated Against Gang Environments. One such individual is Eric Crittendon (above), the co-founder of this program. Crittendon says of the importance of the organization, “To stop the violence we must provide these young people with a reason to live and with things they want to do.” The organization aims to reclaim inner-city youth and provide them with inspirational activities. Its’ leaders do not rely on simple arts and crafts but aim to cultivate students’ creative abillities by introducing them to the production of artistic mediums like hip-hop, dance, and drama. Crittendon will be host to a compelling event next Thursday (August 27), entitled “The History of The Future: A Youth Hip-Hopera and Urban Arts Culture Summit,” an original multi-media performance. Other performers include Africo with Emile Latimer, Billy Drease Williams of DTR45, Zill—MC of Positivity, DJ Cutler, Blu Collar Funk, Magic and Rap by Scrooge, the Skiffle Minstrels, professor Heron Simmonds, and more.

—maggie barrett

4pm-midnight. La Luna, 42 W Chippewa St (855-1292) Free. All ages

Thursday, August 27th

The Mayor of Strawberry Fields

Next Thursday (August 27) acquaint yourself with Gary, the self-proclaimed mayor of Strawberry Fields, the star of Torre Catalano’s new film The Mayor of Strawberry Fields. This event celebrates the talents of a Buffalo filmmaker (Catalano) and a Rochester songwriter (John Ryan). Gary’s story is a fascinating one, about a homeless man working to preserve John Lennon’s legacy. Strawberry Fields is Lennon’s memorial site in Central Park of NYC. The memorial is a black and white tile mosaic with the word “IMAGINE” in the center. Beautiful as it is, the memorial would not be the same without Gary’s daily contribution of flower petals which he distributes artfully throughout the year. From discarded flowers and bouquet makings that he finds in dumpsters around the city, Gary transforms the memorial into a colorful, lively dedication to Lennon’s vision of peace and love. This screening in Buffalo marks the world premiere of the film. After the screening, there is a Q&A session with the filmmaker and a champagne reception featuring a performance by the film’s singer/songwriter, John Ryan.

—maggie barrett

6:30pm. Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (878-6011 / Free.

Saturday, August 29th

Silent Exchange

Five electronic music artists are playing this Saturday at The Yard for an all day event, Silent Exchange. But what could be silent about a day filled with electronic music? Event organizer Meghan Mann hopes body language inspired by pulsating beats will cover all necessary expression from the crowd this Saturday (August 29). The goal of this event is to expand the repertoire of electronic music showcased in Buffalo, from what event organizer Maghan Mann sees as strictly commerical—“not that there’s anything wrong with that”—to a more underground and experimental scene. The DJs who make up Soul Clap, one of Saturday’s headliners, hail from Boston. This duo has a long history in the international House scene. Soul Clap promises to “free your mind, and your ass will follow.” Ten dollars gets you a full day of booty-inspiring beats, an art show, and access to super-cheap grilled goods and beer. Rain or shine the event will carry on. In case of rain, the event will be held in the warehouse on the grounds of the Yard.

—maggie barrett

noon-10pm The Yard/Rock Harbor Commons, 31 Tonawanda St. $10. Ages 18+. Visit for more info

Sunday, August 30th

Big Sandy & His Flyrite Boys

Get ready, cats and kittens, for the rockinest, bopinest, swingin’ and swayinest show of the summer this Sunday afternoon (August 30), when retro music giants Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys roll into town for a rare area appearance. The southern California group has been taking the art of rockabilly swing to new heights for the past 21 years, making the genre their own thanks to smart songwriting and spot-on musicianship. For years the band turned heads on the road by traveling in a converted 1949 passenger bus, and they remain connoisseurs of vintage musical gear and style. Their current release Turntable Matinee (Yep Roc) is an homage to vinyl records, especially the 45 single, or personal licorice pizza—depending on the hipness of your lingo. Opening the show is the rootsy Eilen Jewell Band, fresh off a string of dates with the King of California himself, Dave Alvin. B-there or B-square

—buck quigley

4pm. Sportsmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St (874-7734 / $25

Sunday, August 30th

Health & Beauty

Health&Beauty is a Chicago-based band that is more or less the brainchild of Brian J. Sulpizio’s twisted mind. Looking at the band’s myspace, you know you’re in for something strange when some of the monikers used to categorize the band include Americana, classic rock, experimental house, trash, disco, and Zimbabwean M’bira (which is an ancient African instrument). The result is a scatterbrained, loosely kept together mess—but a compelling mess—that at times gets some sharp hooks and at others dives towards oblivion. At its tamest, Health&Beauty has a ‘90’s indie sort of Pavement vibe, and at its wildest it becomes a full on prog freak-out assault. If you shy away from the weird this band will undoubtedly annoy, but if you’re looking for a show to keep you on your toes, get over to Soundlab on Sunday (August 30). A Relative Term (Mark Longolucco) opens the show.

—geoff anstey

9pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (

Wednesday, September 2nd

Mark Norris & The Backpeddlers

WBFO’s Wednesday Night Concerts continues at the Sportsmen’s Tavern with Mark Norris & the Backpeddlers this week (Sept. 2). The concerts feature free live local music and the shows are recorded for podcasts at Mark Norris has long been a well known fixture on the Buffalo music scene, fronting the legendary band girlpope which is still considered one of Buffalo’s all-time bests. The Backpeddlers offer a more lyrical and understated sound than the former pop-punk band, and their influence comes more from 1960’s Brit bands like the Kinks and the Who with lyrics that are introspective and personal. The Backpeddlers released a CD in 2006 called Stranded Between Stations which Norris described as “naked and honest.” Just like he was in the girlpope days. For our part, we’ve never seen the Backpeddlers play anywhere else but the ‘Hawk, so watching Norris and company at the Sportsmen’s should provide a great backdrop for the twangy tweaking he’s been doing since the glory days of girlpope.

—alan victor

7:30pm. Sportsmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St (874-7734 / FREE