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See You There!

Artvoice's weekly round-up of featured events, including our editor's pick for the week: the Real-Space Electronic Art Show at Soundlab on Wednesday, December 15.

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.

Real-Space Electronic Art Show

Wednesday, December 15

Emerging media artist and Associate Professor Paul Vanouse teaches a course called Real-Space Electronic Art in the Visual Studies department at the State University of New York at Buffalo. For about 10 years his classes have been presenting the culmination of this course as an interactive art show. Four of those exhibitions have taken place at Soundlab. This year, the Real-Space Electronic Art show returns to Soundlab on Wednesday (Dec 15). Vanouse’s course includes graduate students, undergrads, art students, media studies students, electrical, and computer engineering students. “The projects shown are all interactive, but we seek alternate interfaces for interaction—such as infra-red and sonar detectors—as well as variations on tactile sensors, thus there is generally no keyboard or mouse involved,” Vanouse explained. For example, one piece of art from 2008’s Real-Space Electronic Art show, Untitled Typewriter by Heamchand Subryan and Chris Caporlingua, was an interactive typewriter that created sound. Each type bar was used as a switch for various sounds. Dan Schlegel, a PhD student of computer science in this year’s exhibition, decided to take the Real-Space Electronic Art course because it seemed interesting to him. “Most students in the class had no electronics experience or experience with programming before this course,” Schlegel said. “People are doing neat things despite a steep learning curve.” The class’ format was mostly group based, Schlegel said. “We started with small in-class lab-type exercises, and then moved to some small electronics projects, and then to this large final project. Everyone has worked really hard and I think each group has come up with something interesting.” This is the kind of sound, performance, and technological postmodern artwork that avant-garde artists like John Cage, Allan Kaprow, and Nam June Paik laid the groundwork for. This is the perfect event for viewers who are compelled to touch artwork. A visit to the Real-Space Electronic Art Show is an unpredictable chance to get interactive. —jill greenberg

8pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (440-5907 / Free.

Friday, December 10

Exploding Lies with Patrons of Sweet & London vs. New York

Yes, Cleveland does indeed “rock.” If there is one thing our rusty neighbors to the west do well, it’s export some of the finest and dirtiest garage rock around. Exploding Lies are no exception. Rip-roaring in every way, their songs burn slow with organ heavy, deep swamp-laden blues and explode into furious psych-garage barroom freakouts. Fans of Deep Purple, Junior Kimbrough, and The Black Keys take note…this is your show. Joining them will be the always grungy indie rockers, Patrons of Sweet. Heavy, angular and intense are all accurate terms in describing what they do. Think Jawbox on speed. In a time of year when everyone seems to be hibernating, local post-punk favorites, London Vs New York have actually come out of hiding to open the show and apologize for being gone for so long. Friday (Dec 10) is the day and Mohawk Place is the venue for this night of distorted debauchery. Doors are at 9pm and $5 gets you in. Don’t miss out, Buffalo will undoubtedly be feeling aftershocks from this rock-quake for weeks to come. —eric kendall

9pm. Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. (465-2368 / $5.

Saturday, December 11

Esperanza Spalding

Women nominated in the “Best New Artist” category at the Grammy’s have had a pretty good track record. Boundary pushing pop artists like Sheryl Crow, Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood, and Christina Aguilera are among previous winners, but this year one nominee, bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, is pushing boundaries in a different direction. Most listeners would not identify Spalding’s soulful and flamboyant style of jazz music as mainstream or pop, but on her latest album, Chamber Music Society, released in August, Spalding intersects jazz and folk with pop and puts a contemporary spin on the origins of pop music. Songs like “Winter Sun” and “Knowledge of Good and Evil” are driven by her grooving basslines, while tracks like “Really Very Small” and “Chacarera” showcase Spalding’s spectacular vocal range as she riffs, using her voice like a saxophone. With hints of Alicia Keys in her singing, and improvised, upright bass playing skills approaching the likes of legendary jazz bassists like Stanley Clarke or Charles Fambrough, Spalding proves that she belongs on that Grammy list. Esperanza Spalding will perform live at Buffalo State College’s Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall on Saturday (Dec 11) at 8pm. —cory perla

8pm. Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall, 1300 Elmwood Ave. (878-3005 / $35, $15 for students..

Friday, December 10 - Sunday, December 12

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

A brand new holiday musical, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, will be performed live at Shea’s Performing Arts Center from Friday (Dec 10) through Sunday (Dec 12), in celebration of the holiday season. The production, created and directed by Neil Goldberg, brings to life dreamy musical arrangements that are paired with dancing ornaments and other costumed characters full of holiday cheer. There is a diverse range of cast members, which include acrobats, aerialists, singers, dancers, and musicians from all over the world. As characters can be seen dangling from a 24-foot tall magical tree, there are gingerbread men soaring through the air, toy soldiers carefully balancing on tightropes, penguins twirling, puppets caroling, and reindeer flying high above this bedazzled set full of winter wonderment. Cirque Dreams Holidaze features an original musical score, along with some holiday favorites that are complemented by ornate costumes to complete this show full of astonishing imagination and entertainment. “Cirque Dreams Holidaze follows in the spirit of the Cirque Dreams brand vision which first premiered in 1993,” said Goldberg. “Our dramatic and elaborate style of presenting Broadway theatrics with influences of European, American and inventive circus artistry continues to transcend imagination, appeal to everyone and offer high quality, affordable entertainment.”—vanessa oswald

7:30pm Fri, 2pm and 7:30pm Sat, 1pm and 6:30pm Sun. Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. (847-1410 / $32.50-$57.50.

Saturday, December 11

Son of the Sun

This Saturday’s (Dec 11) show is a very special installment of the Good Neighborhood’s Home for the Holidays Concert Series. Who says charity can’t be fun? Three of the most promising acts this side of the country will grace the stage at Nietzsche’s to help ring in the holidays proper. Each group were either nominated or winners of best new band/album in their respective cities this year. Talk about a seal of approval. Headlining will be Buffalo’s Son of the Sun, already nominated for best original rock artist in this years Buffalo Music Awards. Vintage in style and modern in delivery, their seamlessly swaggering brand of rock brings to mind what it might sound like if Phil Spector produced B.R.M.C. Boston‘s artists of the year, Kingsley Flood redefine what it means to play Americana music in 2010. While their roots are firmly planted in fiddle-infused old-timey influences, the incredibly detailed songwriting and poetic lyrics keep things current and bring the music into our time with style and grace. Rounding out the bill will be Rochester’s Walri, specializing in orchestral sun-drenched 1960’s AM pop that will surely melt the snow from your shoulders and put a smile on your face. Think Donovan fronting Of Montreal and you’re getting close. Their debut, Paper Crane, won “best new album” in Rochester’s City Newspaper. Doors are at 9pm and 5 bucks gets you in. While you’re there, don’t forget to stock up on tickets for the “Take All Ticket Raffle” which will benefit the Compass House of Buffalo, courtesy of the bands and Magic Hat Beer. —eric kendall

9pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / $5.

Monday, December 13

Bill Kirchen's Honky Tonk Holiday Show

It’s getting to be that time of year when fans of American roots rock start looking forward to that annual visit from you-know-who. No, not Santa Claus. No, not Mannheim Steamroller, you mall rat. I’m talking about the once-a-year chance to catch dieselbilly king Bill Kirchen’s salute to the vast catalog of holiday rock-n-roll, R&B, blues, and classic country tunes that make the season so special. Speaking from the road somewhere between Massachusetts and his home base in Washington, DC, the Telecaster master reflected on his recent State Department tour of Israel and Palestine. “We’re coming back to deliver a message of good cheer. If it works over there, it’ll work in Buffalo.” Kirchen calls the experience a “life-changer,” where he and his band, Too Much Fun, got to play shows for and with Israeli and Palestinian musicians and audiences. “It was a very soulful experience. We played refugee camps for kids and with kids. Everybody loves the same stuff, and everybody’s just trying to get along. I did a bunch of radio and TV in Bethlehem, and we went over to the Church of the Nativity and looked at that stuff.” Just back from the holy land, Kirchen, drummer Jack O’Dell, and bassist Maurice “Mac” Cridlin will pull into the Sportsmen’s Tavern on Monday (Dec 13) with some lights, decorations, and a whole bunch of songs ranging from Albert King’s blues nugget “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’” to Buck Owens’ “Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy” to “Daddy’s Drinkin’ Up Our Christmas”—originally recorded by Kirchen’s first band, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. Plus non-holiday selections from Kirchen’s solo catalog including his recent release Word to the Wise (Proper Records), which collected rave reviews and featured performances by Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack among others. —buck quigley

7pm. Sportsmen’s Tavern, 326 Amherst St. (874-7734 / $20.

Tuesday, December 14

Rockin' 4 Tots

It’s better to give than to receive, and that’s exactly the idea behind “Rockin 4 Tots,” a live concert featuring Suckerpunch, Strictly Hip, and Mick Hayes this Tuesday (Dec 14) at the Tralf. All proceeds from the show go to the Marine Foundation Toys for Tots, a not-for-profit public charity that collects and distributes new, unwrapped toys to less fortunate children during the holidays. Technically, you can give and receive, in the form of great music from some of Buffalo’s best acts. A quintessential bluesman, Mick Hayes has been a mainstay in the Buffalo music scene with his hard-edged voice and masterful guitar playing. Hayes was recently inducted into the Hall of Achievement at this year’s Buffalo Music Awards. Also on the bill are Buffalo alt-rockers Suckerpunch, covering the best of alternative and hard rock from the 1990’s and 2000’s, including songs by Tool, Godsmack, Foo Fighters, Chevelle, System of a Down, Incubus, and many more. Rounding out the night is Jeremy Hoyle (voted Best Male Vocalist at the BMA’s) and Strictly Hip, who have made themselves well-known over the years as a multiple-award winning Tragically Hip tribute band in Canada and the US. Their repertoire has grown to include college/modern rock classics from artists like REM, Oasis, U2, and the Cure. With these three acts sharing the stage at the Tralf—and for a good cause—there is sure to be some extra surprises in store. —jon wheelock

7pm. Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St. (852-2860 / $10.

Wednesday, December 15


Feats of strength. The airing of grievances. Miracles. Beer and chicken wings. The holidays are here again, and so is’s annual skirmish in the war in Christmas: Welcome to Festivus, this year co-sonsored by Buffalo Rising, WECK 1230 AM, and Inspired by the secular holiday celebrated by the Costanzas on Seinfeld (“Festivus: A Holiday for the Rest of Us”), the party features comedian Kristen Becker and her standup friends, and music by Eric Crittenden and Critt’s Juke Joint. The $7 admission benefits the Buffalo City Mission and Buffalo ReUse. The Festivus pole will be open for business on Wednesday (Dec 15) at 7pm, at Nietzsche’s. —frances boots

7pm. Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen St. (886-8539 / $7.