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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: Exile on Allen St, Artvoice's annual Rolling Stones tribute show at Nietzsche's, on Friday, June 25.

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.

Artvoice Presents: Exile on Allen

Friday, June 25

Here we go: The bells will toll and the dice will tumble this week as Buffalo bands take on the songbooks of two of the greats, the soul man Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones. For two solid nights, Nietzsche’s will be crammed to the brim with the boozehound glory and drug den beauty of pure rock-and-roll excess. What a time! It was the early 1970s when Keith Richards and Mick Jagger holed up in some haunted Nazi mansion in Paris to record the seminal Exile on Main Street, the double LP crowning jewel of rock music. With its remastered re-release in May, the album is in finer form than ever before, with 10 new songs added to boot. The Queen City’s best acts will plunder the Stones’ catalog, which is a thousand songs deep, starting from way back in 1963. Expect some deep cuts and big hits to roll on out. And let’s not forget Van Morrison, who solidified his place in music history with the sensitive, soulful Moondance. Released in 1970, the album mixed jazz, R&B, country, folk, and whatever else Morrison was in the mood for. Van Morrison Night is this Thursday (tonight! June 24), featuring covers from Jimyn, At Sea, Chances R, Brian Fitzpatrick, David Kaye, and Travesties. Exile on Allen Street is this Friday (June 25) with Rolling Stone covers from the Jim Cream Band, Fredmannscurve, the Ignitors, Charr Savage & Riff Raff, Chances R, Knives, Travesties, Billyruben, the Trend, 2nd Time Around, the Painkillers, Quintana, Vincent Massi and the Revelation, the Squints (featuring members of Innocent Bystanders), Dead Flowers, and Kevin Richardson. Both events take place at Nietzsche’s, Van Morrison Night at 8pm and Exile at 10pm.

Join the caravan, moondance on one night, get your rocks off the next. —peter vullo

For the full list of performers and complete schedule, visit

Thursday, June 24


Bygone Buffalo Book Signing

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the slim volume entitled Bygone Buffalo: Photographs from the Past (Queen City Press) is a deceptively long read. Culled from the Prints and Photographs division of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, and other sources by editor Michael J. Mulley, these images transport the viewer to a time when Buffalo’s trajectory was on the rise, and signs of the city’s vitality are in every frame. And what signs! Hats, furs, cigars, artificial limbs, fire-proof hotels, museums, theatres, cloaks, typewriters, coffee, telegraph, and sign companies, plus 50-cent round-trip excursions to Niagara Falls leaving every 15 minutes. With the exception of those taken at the Pan-American Exposition by C.D. Arnold, the remainder of the shots were done by uncredited photographers who captured the beautiful architecture and lively commerce of the thriving city in stunning detail. The street scenes are particularly interesting, where crowds traverse the radiant spokes of downtown avenues by foot, bicycle, horse-drawn carriage, and electric streetcar. Only a handful of automobiles appear, while on the waterfront we see boats and locomotives. Particularly impressive are the parade shots, where the sidewalks are mobbed to welcome columns of marching soldiers home from World War I, or to view workers in step for the 1900 Labor Day Parade. The crowds—like the photographers—are anonymous, and, like many of the buildings shown, are only ghosts now. The book also features a nice introduction by Buffalo historian/entrepreneur Mark Goldman. Book signing tonight (June 24) at Hardware, then photographs from the book will then be on display at Queen City Gallery, at 617 Main Street in the Market Arcade, opening on Tuesday (June 29), 6-8pm. —buck quigley

6-8pm. Allen Street Hardware Café, 245 Allen St. (882-8843)

Thursday, June 24 thru Sunday, June 27

Lauren Belfer

Author and Buffalo ex-pat Lauren Belfer will sign copies of her new novel, A Fierce Radiance, as part of the Buffalo Citybration this weekend with events from Thursday (June 24) to Sunday (June 27). Her second novel (after the acclaimed A City of Light), A Fierce Radiance follows the development of penicillin during the early stages of America’s involvement in World War II. Before the era of antibiotics, anyone could die from fast-moving infections caused by the most superficial of scratches. The top-secret research and study of penicillin on the home front had huge implications, not only on the outcome of the war but within the fabric of American life and human existence as a whole. Set in 1940s New York City, the characters in the novel struggle with their stake in the origins of the breakthrough drug: each of them with something to lose, something to gain, a fortune to be made, a war to be won or lost. A strikingly pertinent novel given the debate over antibiotic use today, Belfer artfully plays with the fact/fiction form that made A City of Light so successful—placing characters within a historical framework and allowing her audience to see how we got to where we are today. Thursday evening (tonight) she’ll read at 7pm in the auditorium at the Burchfield-Penney Arts Center; on Friday (June 25) she’ll help the city celebrate this weekend’s Citybration in the auditorium of the Downtown Library at 3pm; there will be an afternoon reading/booksigning at Barnes & Noble (Niagara Falls Blvd.) on Saturday (June 26) at 2pm; and on Sunday (June 27), 1-4pm, the Kenan Center will host Art, Books & Tea: An Afternoon with Author Lauren Belfer and Artist Nancy Belfer. A Fierce Radiance will also be available for purchase at Talking Leaves Books. —jon wheelock

Various dates, times, and locations, as part of Buffalo Citybration weekend. All events are free except for the Kenan Center workshop. Contact 433-2617 or to make a reservation

Friday, June 25 thru Wednesday, June 30

Grassroots Hoots Concert Series

Some say that talking to flowers and plants will make them grow and live longer. What about singing to them in a weeklong Grassroots Hoots concert series? Several Buffalo musicians are inviting music lovers to hear their rhythms to benefit the Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo. The concert series, presented by the Good Neighborhood, a Buffalo-based company, kicked off on Wednesday (June 23) at the Sportsmen’s Tavern with a concert by Dee Adams, Bob Zuckley, Zak Ward, and Alan Whitney. It continues this weekend at Pearl Street Grill & Brewery on Friday (June 25) when Lazlo Hollyfeld and Sonny Baker deliver their torrential Talking heads Tribute, “Stop Making Sense.” On Saturday (June 26) the Pearl Street Grill will host Photos of Wagons’ “Magical Mystery Tour,” with DJ Cutler setting the Beatles tone by bringing his acclaimed “Ultimate Breaks and Beatles” mash-up to the stage. The series will conclude at Sportsmen’s Tavern on Wednesday, (June 30), with a performance by Pamela Ryder and Friends, “Homecoming Hoot.” Shows at Pearl St. are at 9:30pm and are $4; at Sportmen’s they start at 7pm and are $5. Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo is a community gardening program whom work to aid in the revitalization of neighborhoods by building and beautifying vacant land. Visit for more info. —jeffrey heras

7pm Sportmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St. (874-7734); 9:30pm Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, 76 Pearl St. (856-2337 / $4/$5

Friday, June 25 thru Sunday, June 27

Nickel City Opera: Rigoletto

On Friday (June 25) at 8pm and Sunday (June 27) at 2:30pm the Nickel City Opera will present Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda. Buffalo native Valerian Ruminski, a basso cantante who has performed with some of the leading opera companies worldwide, including the Metropolitan Opera, had a longtime dream of creating an opera company based in Western New York, which would mount its own productions. Last year, the stars were finally in alignment and the Nickel City Opera received a resounding send off when its initial production, Rossini’s Barber of Seville, drew large, appreciative audiences. John Packard (pictured), whose memorable performance as Figaro may have been the highlight of last season’s production, returns in the title role of Rigoletto. About Packard’s recent debut in the role, Opera Magazine commented: “a superb Verdi baritone…a seamless voice, with character and a gleaming upper register. There are surely big things ahead for him.” Heather Buck, an “agile, liquid soprano, a bright, natural stage presence” (Opera News) sings the role of Gilda, while lyric tenor Eric Fennell is the libidinous Duke of Mantua. —jan jezioro

8pm Friday; 2:30pm Sunday. Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda (692-2413 / $20/35/45/55 at Riviera box office or

Saturday, June 26

Bear in Heaven

It’s not hard to listen to Bear in Heaven’s latest album Beast Forth Mouth (Hometapes). It’s not too difficult to get lost in the swelling electronic rhythms on their track “You Do You” or the marching and building drum beats on “Beast in Peace.” The challenge is discovering just where the inspiration for the Brooklyn-based quartet’s gigantic yet minimal songs came from. The impossibly high vocal range of singer Jon Philpot is more reminiscent of Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane than of any other contemporary male vocalist, with the exception of maybe Geddy Lee of Rush, and the hypnotizing drumming of percussionist Joe Stickney sticks out as much as Philpot’s beautiful vocals. Philpot, who lists space disco and Prince among many of his influences, describes his own creation as “shape shifting drones with a beat you can dance to…sometimes,” so let’s stick with that. What’s even better than the band’s collection of moody tunes on Beast Forth Mouth, which was given the “Best New Music” award by Pitchfork Media, is that the album is being re-released with a full track list of remixes by artists like the Field and Studio in September. Chopped up electronic laptop-artist Lobisomem opens the show—cory perla

9pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. ( $10-$12

Sunday, June 27

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

When Ted Leo comes to town, give the man a guitar and he’ll tear his throat to ribbons singing. Leo and his band the Pharmacists (James Canty, Marty Key, Chris Wilson) are in it for the long haul, making rebel anthems full of hooks and bruises for well over a decade. With their new record The Brutalist Bricks, released on the grand king of indie labels known as Matador, the band is out for blood. The new songs hit somewhere along the lines of Elvis Costello circa My Aim Is True and This Year’s Model, but with a grit and gruffness that infinite time on the road and in dive bars bring. “Even Heroes Have to Die” offers the jangle of acoustic guitar chords played like a punk kid, ever-building, pounding drums, and Leo’s sweet, snaky melody. It’s just about the catchiest song about dead supermen and flawed mortals around, with the brimstone lyric: “Did you read the writing on the wall/Prophesying a doom upon us all.” The weighty gloom is contrasted by the sugary call-and-response refrain of “Bottled up in Cork” on which Leo and gang sing “tell the bartender I think I’m falling in love.” O, sweet balance. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists bring their medicine to the Mohawk Place this Sunday (June 27). The show starts at 7pm, and Screaming Females open the show. Get your prescription filled, punks. —peter vullo

7pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (855-3931 /

Thursday, July 1

Dustin Hoffman Film Series

Back in those halcyon days of the late 1960s and early 70s, when movies were made for adults, there was no bigger star than Dustin Hoffman. An unlikely surrogate in an uncertain era, he stuck a chord in the hearts of audiences whether they embraced change or feared it. The glorious Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda is devoting its summer film series to a retrospective of his films, beginning next Thursday. Of course, the opening film is The Graduate (July 1), director Mike Nichols’s satirical coming-of-age comedy that became an emotional touchstone for an entire generation. Along with all of the other reasons to see it (the performance that made Hoffman a star, Buck Henry’s witty script, the songs by Simon and Garfunkel), Nichol’s use of space in the widescreen frame makes this a different experience if you’ve only ever seen it panned and scanned for television. Upcoming films include Wag the Dog (July 8), Tootsie (July 22), Kramer vs. Kramer (July 29), Midnight Cowboy (August 5), Little Big Man (August 12), All the President’s Men (August 19), Marathon Man (August 26), and Rain Man (September 2). Admission is only $3, and that includes a pre-film concert on the theater’s Wurlitzer organ, so arrive early! —m. faust

Thursdays at 7pm, July 1-Sept. 2. Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda (692-2413 /