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More problems at BMHA, a new kind of fracking, and the Peace Bridge wars continue BY ASHLEY HUPFL + JUSTIN SONDEL BMHA LAYS OFF DIRECTORS: The financially strapped Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority has been making personnel changes, terminating some employees and demoting others, in an effort to control costs as the agency’s cash reserves dwindle, The Public has learned.
Multiple sources, all speaking on condition of anonymity, say key staff members have been removed from their positions and that their workloads have been relegated to outside firms or BMHA’s general counsel, David Rodriguez. Not only has the authority been operating at a deficit in recent months, but hundreds of its apartments lie vacant, leading to the close scrutiny of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has designated BMHA’s management as “substandard” for two years in a row. The authority has submitted a turnaround plan to the federal agency and is now working to implement it, but HUD, which supplies most of the authority’s funding, has suggested that BMHA may fall into receivership if it doesn’t turn things around soon. Rodriguez and the authority’s executive director, Dawn Sanders-Garrett, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. —JS FRACKING, ROUND TWO: In June, New York
state put to rest a nearly seven-year-long debate about high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” when it banned the controversial process of drilling horizontally into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation, located largely in the state’s Southern Tier. Now, a recent submission of two applications to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to drill a well using gelled propane instead of water could revive the fracking debate in New York. Tioga Energy Partners LLC has proposed drilling a single well to first look at the geology of both the Marcellus and Utica formations. Once that is completed, that well will be closed and the drill will be turned sideways to drill through the Marcellus Shale to produce natural gas. “It’s basically known as waterless fracking,” said Karen Moreau, executive director of the state Petroleum Council. “The whole study that was done in New York was a study of fracking using water and there’s certain issues that go along with using water. People don’t realize that fracking in general was not banned. The high-volume hydraulic fracturing requires the use of higher volumes of water than had done in the past.” Adam Schultz, Tioga Energy Partners’ legal counsel in this case, argues gelled propane fracking falls under the 1992 Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Regulatory Program, which is the DEC’s program for regulating oil, gas, underground gas storage, and solution mining wells of any depth, and brine disposal, stratigraphic, and geothermal wells deeper than 500 feet. “We’ve proposed to use gelled propane as the fracturing fluid and that technology, that completion method, is evaluated under the 1992 GEIS that the DEC completed and is not subject to the 2015 GEIS that was recently completed (that banned high-volume hydraulic fracking),” Schultz said. “This project is entirely consistent with the 2015 study. Some people have talked about going around the ban or that it’s a loophole—it’s not.” The alternative method has not appeased opponents of high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
“We’ve learned through the emerging science on hydraulic fracturing over the last number of years—so much about the dangers and the risks it poses to people and communities,” said John Armstrong, statewide grass-roots coordinator at Frack Action. “While not hydraulic fracturing, propane fracking shares many of those same dangers and harms to people in those communities.” Environmentalists argue gelled propane fracking still causes air pollution and increases the risk of earthquakes and water pollution. “Fracking in general has been determined unsafe. It’s not just the water issue,” said Peter Iwanowicz, executive director for Environmental Advocates of New York. “Our concern would be across a panoply of issues that the governor and the health commissioner looked at when they deemed this unsafe for New York.”
AUGUST 29 & 30
Now that the permit applications have been submitted, Schultz outlined two likely possibilities for what will happen next. One possibility is that the state DEC could determine that, based on the application’s compliance with the 1992 GEIS and the additional information that was submitted with the permit application, no further environmental review is necessary and gelled propane fracking is allowed. The second possibility would be that the state DEC determines there are issues with the new process they’d like to see more closely examined, which would be done through an environmental impact statement. The DEC has no time frame to make its preliminary decision. —AH PEACE BRIDGE BOARD MEMBERS AT WAR AGAIN: Animosity between the American and
Canadian leadership of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority has raged for years, and while the settlement of a recent legal battle marks an end to the latest round of fighting, the blood is still boiling, with board vice chairman Sam Hoyt arguing that a planned junket to Ireland—the latest in a string of international excursions—is a waste of authority money. “It’s my opinion that it’s unnecessary for multiple members of the board to go on these trips,” said Hoyt, a former New York state assemblyman. “That’s why I and the US members of the board are advocating for a change in policy.” Earlier this summer, Hoyt submitted a resolution calling for all authority members and employees to adhere to New York’s travel and conference policies, which require travel in coach accommodations, prohibit the accompaniment of spouses at authority expense, and only allow for “reasonable meal expenses.” In addition, Hoyt called for board members to submit reports explaining the rationale behind all trips outside Western New York or southern Ontario. But while the resolution received the full support of the American contingent, not a single Canadian board member voted in favor, and it fell flat. Hoyt has said he plans to raise the issue again. “This is money that belongs to people who pay the tolls at the bridge,” he said. “It shouldn’t be spent on expensive trips to Europe and other places in the United States and Canada.” —JS Justin Sondel and Ashley Hupfl appear via a content-sharing agreement between The Public P and City & State.
BETWEEN ST. JAMES & WEST FERRY SAT. 10AM-6PM | SUN. 10AM-5PM A R T I S T M A R K E T | 170 world-class artisans – many from around the corner! P E R F O R M E R S S H O W C A S E
| Four stages plus roaming artists–featuring over 70 regional performances. • K I D S F E S T | Hands-on activities for children of all ages with six cool tents run by local artists and art educators. • Join us Sunday at 4 pm for T H E P A R A D E O F T H E P H O E N I X • F E S T I V A L C A F E | An eclectic array of foods for all palates. • C U L T U R A L / E N V I R O N M E N T A L R O W | Will showcase over 50 art, cultural and environmental groups. Program information, schedules and hands-on activities will be featured. • M E R C H A N T S S H O W C A S E | Special sidewalk sales by Elmwood’s stores and restaurants. • E N V I R O N M E N T A L L Y F R I E N D L Y | Solar -powered stage, recycling and composting. • S A T U R D A Y
E V E N I N G C O N C E R T | at the St. James Stage 6:15 pm D E S I G N
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PLEASE EXAMINE THIS
SCHUMER’S FOLLY Chuck Schumer tried to make his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal quiet, but it’s not working BY BRUCE JACKSON
PHOTO BY BRUCE JACKSON
THE HIDDEN ANNOUNCEMENT Senator Chuck Schumer announced on the story-sharing website Medium on August 6 that he would not support the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. That agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was joined by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the US—as well as Germany. Representatives of all those countries (a group referred to as the P5+1) met secretly with Democratic senators last week urging them to accept the agreement. Schumer posted his defection in the middle of the Republican circle-jerk on Fox on August 6. Some commentators suggest he picked that time and medium to draw as little attention as possible, and that he did it just as Congress was going out of session so he wouldn’t have to lobby anybody or listen to the Republicans praise him for joining their side. That reminded me of JFK’s comment that when he decided to appoint his brother Attorney General, he opened the door of his Georgetown house in the deep dark of night and whispered, “It’s Bobby.” I didn’t believe the JFK story then or the good intentions hypothesis now. Schumer is serious about this.
WHAT SCHUMER SAID Schumer concluded his long and wandering web posting with this: To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great. Therefore, I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear
THE PUBLIC / AUGUST 12, 2015 / DAILYPUBLIC.COM
A HUGE NUMBER OF ISRAEL’S FORMER HEADS OF INTELLIGENCE, MOSSAD, AND THE MILITARY ENDORSE THE AGREEMENT. IF THERE ARE CURRENT ISRAELI OFFICIALS IN SIMILAR POSITIONS WHO APPROVE OF THE TREATY, THEY CAN’T SAY A WORD. power. Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.
one of the most cogent counter-arguments to Schumer’s rambling statement I’ve seen. She ends: “Our goal has been, and remains, to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. We have far more ability to achieve that outcome if we approve this deal.”
For all these reasons, I believe the vote to disapprove is the right one.
Top American nuclear scientists also agree. According to the New York Times, “Twenty-nine of the nation’s top scientists — including Nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former White House science advisers — wrote to President Obama on Saturday to praise the Iran deal, calling it innovative and stringent…The first signature on the letter is from Richard L. Garwin, a physicist who helped design the world’s first hydrogen bomb and has long advised Washington on nuclear weapons and arms control.”
This is nonsense. Iran doesn’t have any nuclear power, so how can it “retain” it? The only country in the region with nuclear power, as Schumer knows full well, is Israel. What right do we have to demand that Iran obliterate its “non-nuclear power,” which is Schumer-speak for “conventional weapons”? If he indeed believes that “nefarious” Iran “will not change,” what, other than war, is a satisfactory course of action? Without the fluff, this passage translates: “I don’t and won’t trust Iran, I don’t believe the scientists who insist inspections will be effective. So let’s keep the sanctions in place, sanction our friends who don’t buy this paranoia, and let’s engage in diplomacy (the path I’ve just rejected), even though that policy will vastly increase the likelihood of another unnecessary war in the Middle East.”
ON THE OTHER HAND New York’s other senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, used Medium the same day (I don’t know which of them posted first; Medium doesn’t time-stamp) to say why she supported the treaty. It’s
A huge number of Israel’s former heads of intelligence, Mossad, and the military also endorse the agreement. If there are current Israeli officials in similar positions who approve of the treaty, they can’t say a word: Netanyahu would fire them on the spot.
MONEY The Republicans in the Senate will vote against this important treaty, which is endorsed by the industrialized world and by top nuclear scientists, and, according to the polls, favored by a majority of Americans and, percentage-wise, a larger majority of American Jews. They don’t care about the facts: They vote against everything Obama proposes. Their voting is like what your foot does when the doctor taps your knee with the rubber hammer.
COMMENTARY NEWS But why would Chuck Schumer join them?
One reason might be money. He’s up for reelection in 2016. He also intends to run for Harry Reid’s job—Senate Majority Leader if the Democrats take the Senate back, Minority Leader if they don’t. (Reid is retiring next year.) He will surely win in New York, but a very big win will help lock in that leadership position. He has $19 million in his political war chest now. Rejecting the Iran deal will lose him a lot of contributions from the Left, but conservative Zionist billionaires like casino owner Sheldon Adelson will probably more than make up for the loss.
Then there is Schumer’s own militancy. In many regards, he is a liberal, but not when it comes to war. Schumer voted for the Iraq War in 2002. Before that vote, he held open meetings around New York State, ostensibly to test public opinion. One of those meetings was at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. Although he politely listened to people who doubted the WMD stories by Judith Miller in the New York Times (which turned out to be untrue) it was clear that his mind was already made up and he was going to vote for war, the facts be damned.
Schumer is a very canny politician: I haven’t a doubt that before he announced his defection, he and his staff spent a great deal of time running the numbers. He also probably has made the political calculation that jumping ship on this president, who will be gone by the time he runs for the leadership position, won’t do him that much political harm. Schumer was a major fundraiser for Democrats in Congress, and a lot of people in office now owe him. He’s counting on old debts and short memories.
PRESSURE He also had pressure. A lot of it. NPR reported, also on August 6, that AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran (an AIPAC front) “plan to spend between $20 million and $40 million on this fight. That range vastly dwarfs the $5 million its main adversary has to spend—J Street, a pro-Israel group that supports the deal.” J Street also differs from AIPAC in that it is pro-peace and pro-fairness to the Palestinians; AIPAC advocates neither. “Since the deal was announced mid-July,” the NPR article continued, “J Street has had more than 125 lawmaker meetings. On the other side, AIPAC says it had 400 meetings in congressional offices just last week.” AIPAC, reported the New York Times on August 7, “had sent 60 activists to Mr. Schumer’s office to lobby him last week, while Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, an offshoot of Aipac [sic] planned to run at least $25 million in advertising against the deal, ran television spots in New York City. As Mr. Schumer deliberated, he spoke with Aipac leaders, but also with representatives of the pro-Israel group J Street, which supports the deal.” You can be sure J Street didn’t have the resources to get 60 lobbyists to lean on Schumer or $25 million in ads, many directly targeted specifically at him. The White House lobbied Schumer too. “’I don’t know if the administration’s been outlobbied,’ Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Thursday before Mr. Schumer’s announcement. ‘We certainly have been outspent.’” The Times article also reported that AIPAC “would be flying 700 members from across the country to lobby their members of Congress to reject the deal. Mr. Obama’s team asked to brief the group at the White House, and was told instead to send a representative to a downtown Washington hotel.” AIPAC refused to allow the lobbyists to ask the White House representatives at that meeting any questions. (The best article I’ve seen on AIPAC’s chokehold on Congress—it makes the NRA seem like squirtgun punks—is Connie Bruck’s “Friends of Israel,” in The New Yorker, September 1, 2014.) The most striking fact here is, in opposing the majority position of American Jews on the treaty and instead advocating Netanyahu’s position, AIPAC reveals who and what it really represents. AIPAC doesn’t just lobby. It also punishes. It has for years taken the position that opposition to Israeli policy is the same as anti-Semitism. One of their Los Angeles affiliates even came after me. They wrote UB officials wanting me investigated as a possible anti-Semite because I’d written an article in Counterpunch about Israeli mortars killing two zebras and a giraffe in the only zoo in the Palestinian territory. There was no argument about the facts: The animals had been killed by Israeli shelling and their deaths had been reported in the New York Times. The AIPAC pod’s objection was that I’d written about it.
Same thing now. He says he’s thought long and hard on this. I don’t buy it. He’s never, to my knowledge, voted against anything the Israeli government wanted, and this time Benjamin Netanyahu wanted him to vote against President Obama. A guy can only follow one leader at a time.
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WHY THIS MATTERS
If the exculpatory theories—he did this when he thought no one would notice when Congress was about to go out of session—are true, it’s smarmy in all regards. This is too important an issue for ordinary political smarm.
If he believes what he is doing, it is even worse. He is rejecting the informed advice of all the senior Israeli military and intelligence officials not currently working for Netanyahu. He is rejecting informed positions taken by every other nation on the UN Security Council, plus others. He is rejecting his own president and the US State Department. And he is rejecting his personal constituency: New York Jews.
IF Y THIS HEL THO THIS PUB
He is dancing to Netanyahu’s drum. That’s good for Netanyahu, as chauvinistic a national leader since South Africa during apartheid. The best article I’ve seen on the defects of Netanyahu’s fantasies about Iran was written by the Israeli journalist and peace activist, Uri Avnery: “The Treaty,” published July 18 on the website of Gush Shalom (the Israeli Peace Movement). It’s too long to summarize here, but the basic point is that Iran is a civilized country, intelligently run, with a long history, and it probably has no intention of building a bomb because it doesn’t need one. The article concludes: “One of Netanyahu’s arguments is that the Iranians can and will cheat the naive Americans and build the bomb. He is sure that this is possible. Well, he should know. We did it, didn’t we?” Avnery’s article is well worth a look. I wish Chuck Schumer had read it before he caved to AIPAC on this one.
REALITY AND A FANTASY Who can know what is in anyone’s heart or mind? Aristotle, in The Poetics, said we understand character not through words but through the choices people make. Chuck Schumer announced a key choice in a media moment and in a media forum where it very well might have disappeared. But it didn’t. He didn’t sneak it through. He gave his reasons, but whether they were the real ones or cover for the real ones, the choice was cynical. My final image is a total fantasy, so please indulge me for a moment. It is Barack Obama coming into the Rose Garden to talk about all this. Chuck Schumer is just behind him. As they approach the microphone, Obama says to Schumer, turning his head and speaking over his shoulder, “You’ve got my back?” “Yes, sir, I surely do,” Schumer says. In his hand is a beautiful knife. It is one of the presents the 60 AIPAC lobbyists gave him. Bruce Jackson is SUNY Distinguished Professor and the James Agee Professor of American Culture at the University at Buffalo. He is a P contributor to J Street. DAILYPUBLIC.COM / AUGUST 12, 2015 / THE PUBLIC
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Left to right: Albright-Knox curator Cathleen Chaffee, Mattie’s owner George Holt, Jr., the City of Buffalo’s Otis Barker, Albright-Knox curator Aaron Ott, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and the Fillmore Corridor Neighborhood Coalition’s Tony James.
THE ALBRIGHT-KNOX PLANTS A SEED
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THE PUBLIC ART INITIATIVE that brought MESSAGE TO Silent ADVERTISER Shark Girl and the Poets to Canalside and you Beautiful” for advertising with THE theThank “You Are billboards across local PUBLIC. Please review your highways is focusing its effortsadonand a project errors. The original that layout thatcheck seeksfor to any promulgate wildflowers susinstructions have been followed as closely tain the pollinators that forage our region. Reas possible. THE PUBLIC offers design wilding New York, a project by Chicago artist services with two proofs at no charge. Jenny Kendler, has placed repurposed Buffalo THE PUBLIC is not responsible for any News newspaper boxes throughout the county, error if not notified within 24 hours of wrapped them Kendler’s department wildflower designs receipt. Thein production must (seehave this issue’s cover), and with seed a signed proof in filled orderthem to print. packets of indigenous wildflowers—species that Please sign and fax this back or approve offer the bees and butterbynectar-rich respondingsnacks to thistoemail. flies that live in and traverse the area.
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Albright-Knox Art Gallery public art cura� CHECK IMPORTANT DATES tor Aaron Ott was on hand at Monday’s press conference outside Mattie’s Restaurant � CHECK NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE #, on Fillmore Avenue along with Erie County Executive & WEBSITE Mark Poloncarz and others to announce the latPROOF OKof(NO est � installment theCHANGES) partnership between the county, the city, and the Albright-Knox. Ott � PROOF OK (WITH CHANGES) was familiar with Kendler’s work from his own time in Chicago. “I was drawn to the activism of [Kendler’s earlier] work but challenged KenAdvertisers Signature dler to think about a method of interaction that would be more direct and not necessitate tech____________________________ nologies that might not be readily available in _______________________ theDate communities that we hoped to impact,” Ott explained in an email. Issue:
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The boxes can be found throughout the county, from Clarence to Orchard Park; Ott and PoIF YOU APPROVE ERRORS WHICH ARE ON loncarz advocated for three of the boxes to be THIS PROOF, THE PUBLIC CANNOT BE placed on the city’s East Side. Ott characterized RESPONSIBLE. PLEASE EXAMINE THE AD theHELD beleagured neighborhood as “chronically THOROUGHLY EVEN IF THE AD IS A PICK-UP. underserved” and Poloncarz told The Public, PROOF MAY ONLY BE USED “It’sTHIS important to understand artFOR comes in so many forms andINtoTHE actually bring it out to the PUBLICATION PUBLIC. community is something I want to do. Espe6
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cially here on the East Side of Buffalo where a child may never walk into a gallery—now they can access art right in their own neighborhood.”
out the United States, for example, but we can start small and get people to plant native plants.
Rita Gay of the Fillmore Corridor Neighborhood Coalition stated she was “delighted” to have such interest in her neighborhood for the project. “To have an organization like the Albright-Knox do this is a step in the right direction for us.”
Tell me about pollinators and your vision for these boxes. Generally, what makes this art and not strictly wildlife conservation? I’m the artist-in-residence for the Natural Resources Defense Council—an international environmental nonprofit—and I actually approached them a while back, because I was really interested in finding the place between art and activism. It’s been a lifelong goal of a mine to try to find a way to work in the two spaces, and the residency with NRDC has been really fruitful for that reason. In this case, they were instrumental in crafting one of the more direct activist components of this project, which is the postcards we’re asking people to send in to Governor Cuomo’s office—which will protect not just pollinators but also human health. I’m trying to find way for people to reengage with the natural world and this concept of rewilding is really interesting to me.
The 10 boxes each contain about 1,000 envelopes filled with a seed mixture of wildflowers chosen for their heartiness, adaptability, and nectar content: White Yarrow, Anise Hyssop, Red Milkweed, Common Milkweed, Lance Leaf Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower, Ox-eye Sunflower, Bergamot. Stiff Goldenrod, Blackeyed Susan, and New England Aster. The back of each envelope is a postcard addressed to Governor Andrew Cuomo in support stronger pesticide regulation to stem the steep decline of butterfly and bee populations. Reached by phone, artist Jenny Kendler was buzzing about the images she had already seen from the Buffalo press conference announcing Rewilding New York: Can you explain the general concept of “rewilding”? The concept of rewilding means looking at the world around us and thinking of how we can bring it back to a more verdant, more biodiverse state. To me in particular, it means that humans are part of the world; and, while we’re not trying to bring back some archaic version of nature 500 years in the past, we need to remember we live in a sustained ecosystem. The exciting thing is that it starts with the plants, and that’s actually really easy. It’ll be hard to get apex predators reintroduced through-
In your background research on pollinators and wildflowers, did you encounter any information, facts, details, etc. that you’ve grasped on to conceptually as you’ve developed this project? Researching plant and pollinators is part of my natural process, other than being an artist I’m actually a really big nature nerd. I like to know the names of all the plants and I like to know the Latin names, so it was an interesting experience for me. I’ve been working with native plants in the Midwest and in Louisville, Kentucky, so it’s been this interesting mapping process to see which species overlap between the different
LOCAL NEWS areas, while also looking at pollinators. Something like one in three bites of food that you eat is pollinated by bees. Realizing that bees are under such amazing threat is definitely something I want to make people more aware of. And the monarchs have been a focus of mine for a long time. Buffalo happens to be right on the eastern edge of the monarch migration, so we worked in two species of milkweed as milkweed is the only plant that monarchs can lay their eggs on, and the only plants their caterpillars can eat. If a butterfly can’t find a plant to lay an egg then that generation dies off—and their populations have been reduced about 90 percent. It’s very conceivable, sadly, within our lifetime that this magnificent 3,000-mile migration that these tiny fragile butterflies make could be lost from the planet. So, that’s one of the key issues we’re focusing on, and again part of our ask to Governor Cuomo’s office. There are literally millions of seeds inside of these packets, it’s astonishing to think of how many plants can grow from that. For a full list of Rewilding New York boxes, visit albrightknox.org. P
P E T C
SOMETHING LIKE ONE IN THREE BITES OF FOOD THAT YOU EAT IS POLLINATED BY BEES… THAT BEES ARE UNDER SUCH AMAZING THREAT IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING I WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE MORE AWARE OF.
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The neighborhood around Grant and Breckenridge streets was sparsely settled as late as only 115 years ago. This photograph, shot in 1899, captures bookkeeper Frederick H. Branstater at his home at 286 Breckenridge Street, northwest corner with Grant. His house is deeply set back from a dirt road lined with wooden sidewalks. A few dozen chickens surround him. This rural scene changed quickly thereafter, particularly since electric streetcar service had been introduced on Grant Street in 1893. Denser development followed population gains in Buffalo, which, between 1900 and 1910, added more than 70,000 residents, leading to a total of 423,715. In 1900, the house at 286 Breckenridge was demolished and replaced with six row houses. In 1938, the site was leveled again and replaced with the F. W. Woolworth Co. store at 110 Grant Street. That building still stands, its original Art Deco facade concealed. Rainbow Shops now occupies the site P where Branstater once tended to his chickens. —THE PUBLIC STAFF
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LOOKING BACKWARD: GRANT & BRECKENRIDGE, 1899
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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BUFFALO HISTORY MUSEUM
IF Y THIS HEL THO THIS PUB
Left: Trans Lovely: Death by a Thousand Cuts. Right: Shattered: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
INFINITELY COMPLEX At Casa de Arte, Rick Williams addresses brokenness and the healing or denial of brokenness
BY JACK FORAN
THE RICK WILLIAMS ART EXHIBIT at Casa de Arte is entitled Infinitely Complex. It is interspersed with images of the cosmos. Night sky black with myriad color specks of what might be planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies. The cosmos images function as background to his even more complex real subject, the human brain.
The work is about brokenness—as that term is used to describe the human condition—and healing of the brokenness. Or not. Strategies of denial and temporizing to avoid recognition of the brokenness. And sometimes fatal consequences of such strategies. The artwork reflects Williams’s experience as a MASH corpsman in Vietnam, then working in a Veterans Administration hospital psychiatric ward, then as a lawyer and judge adjudicating cases involving physical and mental disorders, as well as his personal struggles against similar such demons. “I’ve seen mental illness from every perspective,” he says. Many of the paintings are on glass mirrors—usually shattered—overlain with clear Plexiglas and a blue film coating that obscures but does not completely conceal the paintings underneath, as well as holds the shards of broken mirror in place. The idea with the mirrors seems to be that the painter as he paints sees himself in the painting. (Indeed, as Williams told me when I viewed the show, several of the paintings are self-portraits. It is hard to perceive this without being informed of it, due to the obscuring effect of the blue film overlay.) The idea with the shattered mirrors is the existential brokenness idea. Another idea with the blue film overlay seems to be about how we mask and obscure the brokenness. The denial and temporizing. With alcohol, drugs, whatever addictive substances or practices. This is not pretty picture art. Among the paintings and several sculptural works are some videos. One showing the artist—no blue film overlay here—in the throes of delirium tremens. Williams said this was a staged performance, not the real thing, but that he’s been there. And all in all as much emphasis on non-survival as survival of the mental and emotional difficulties and addictive strategies. Two sculptural pieces are essentially coffins, with Plexiglas and blue film covers. One with a barely visible—through the blue translucent cover—emaciated-looking facsimile corpse. The title of the coffin piece is Bulimia: Dead at 32. Other works refer to other medical/psychological conditions (depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder) 8
THE PUBLIC / AUGUST 12, 2015 / DAILYPUBLIC.COM
INFINITELY COMPLEX CASA DE ARTE / 141 ELMWOOD AVE, BUFFALO / CASADEARTEGALLERY.COM CLOSING RECEPTION / AUGUST 16 / 2-6PM
and the self-destructive actions (rapid or protracted) they can lead to. A painting not under blue film overlay is entitled Juan Carlo Ruiz Morales: Untreated Depression; Death by Suicide, age 54. He looks like he could be 84. An adjacent full-length portrait of a beautiful young woman, tall and straight, is entitled Masheka Wilson, model, Death by Heroin Overdose at age 41. In the artist’s case, early Catholic religious experience gets some of the blame. An enigmatic painting entitled Requiem for My Sexuality depicts a nude female—homage perhaps to Titian’s nude, or Goya’s, or both—and Catholic nuns in black and white habits in a line approaching the prostrate nude as if viewing a corpse at a wake. Another work—in part in homage to Dali—is a large crucifix with a double strand of hemp rope in the Christ role. Another video is called Mario T: Death of an Addict. Actually, not quite death, almost death, Williams explained. A video slide show of photos of his son, he said, proceeding backwards from his young adulthood and what looks like drug and alcohol and attitude problems, to childhood sweet innocence. How did it happen? Part of the answer, it seems, we pass things along. Another concurrent theme is Williams’s lifelong devotion to the study and practice of art. Several of the paintings under Plexiglas and blue film are self-portrait remakes of some iconic paintings of the Western tradition. Watteau’s Pierrot, Manet’s Absinthe Drinker. Some of these works are further obscured by a further overlay of a black lace fabric. The exhibit continues through August 16. A reception is scheduled for August 16, 2-6pm.
IN GALLERIES NOW BY TINA DILLMAN = ART OPENING
464 Gallery (464 Amherst Street, Buffalo, NY 14207 464gallery.com): Neverland, photographs by Alex Currie. On view through Aug 25. Sat-Sun: 12-4pm, by event or appointment. 1045 Elmwood Gallery for the Arts (1045 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222, 716-228, photographics2.com/store/welcome-to-our-studio1045-gallery-store): Highs and Lows, work by Matthew J. Myers. On view through Aug 22. Thu & Fri 1-5pm, Sat 11am-4pm. Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14222, 882-8700, albrightknox.org): Jeff Koons: Gazing Ball, on view through Aug 16; Screen Play: Life in an Animated World, on view through Sept 13; Dan Colen: Shake the Elbow, on view through Oct 18;, Artist to Artist, on view through Nov 8. Tue-Sun 10am5pm, open late First Fridays until 10pm. Art Dialogue Gallery Custom Framing (5 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14209, artdialoguegallery. com): Fiber work by Estelle Hartman, on view through Aug 21. Tue-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat 11am3pm. Artists Group Gallery (Western New York Artists Group) (1 Linwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14209, 716885-2251, wnyag.com): Collage- n. 1919, from French collage “a pasting,” from Old French cooler “to glue,” from Greek kola “glue”, a group show. On view through Aug 21. Wed & Thu 11am-5pm, Fri 11am-4pm, Sat 11am-2pm Betty’s Restaurant (370 Virginia Street, Buffalo, NY 14201, 362-0633, bettysbuffalo.com): Chicken Little, drawings by Matt Duquette. Big Orbit (30d Essex Street, Buffalo, NY 14222, cepagallery.org/about-big-orbit): Enter the Age of Electronic Consciousness: Hollis Frampton and the Digital Arts Lab, opening reception, Fri Aug 14, 7-11pm. Fri-Sun 12-6pm. ¡Buen Vivir! (148 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201): Triumph and Tragedy, photos by Anne Petermann. On view through Sept 18. Tue-Fri 1-4pm, Sat 1-3pm, or by appointment, 716-9315833. Buffalo Arts Studio (Tri Main Building 5th Floor,
2496 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214, 833-4450, buffaloartsstudio.org): Human, works by Allan Hebeler; You Were Wild, works by Maude White, both shows on view through Sep 4. TueFri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-2pm, Fourth Fridays till 8pm. Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 South Park Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14218, 8271584, buffalogardens.com): Simply Succulents, photographs by Eileen Graetz, on view Aug 15 through Oct 4; Natural Conditions, public art installation by Shayne Dark, on view through Oct 4. Mon-Sun 10am-5pm. Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222, 878-6011, burchfieldpenney.org): M&T Second Friday event: hands-on art-making workshop in the studio classroom; in the front yard, A Resounding Roar, album release concert with Unusually Different, BuffFluxus, and Anne Brundidge Dance. In the galleries: Charles E. Burchfield: Audio Graphics, on view through Aug 23; Charles E. Burchfield: A Resounding Roar, on view through Aug 23; The Scrutiny of Objects: sculptures by Robert A. Booth on view through Aug 30; Body Norms: Selections from the Spong Collection, on view through Aug 30; The Likeness of Being: Portraits by Philip Burke, on view through Sep 13; Robert Blair: Selections from a Soldier’s Portfolio, on view through Sep 27; Patteran: A Living Force & A Moving Power, on view through Sep 27; Emil Schult: Portrait of a Media Artist Pioneer, on view through Sep 27; Richard Kegler/ P22 Type Foundry: Inquisitive Lens; Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat 10am-5pm, Second Fridays till 8pm, Thu 10am-9pm, Sun 1-5pm. Admission $5-$10, children 10 and under free. Burchfield Nature and Art Center (2001 Union Road, West Seneca, NY 14224, 677-4843, burchfieldnac.org): Thomas Rae Wekenman 1947-1992, on view through Aug 31. See website for upcoming classes and events. M-F 10am-4pm, Sun 1-4pm. Castellani Art Museum (5795 Lewiston Road, Niagara University, NY 14109, 286-8200, castellaniartmuseum.org): Artists View the Falls: 300 Years of Niagara Falls Imagery, on view through Aug 16. Tue-Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm. Casa de Arte (141 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201, 227-0271): Infinitely Complex, work by Rick Williams, on view through Aug 16. CEPA (617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, 856-
2717, cepagallery.org): Hollis Frampton, comprehensive exhibition and sale, on view through Sep 5. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 12-4pm. Fargo House Gallery (287 Fargo Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14213, thefargohouse.com, visit website for appointment): Caitlin Cass: Benjamin Rathburn Builds Buffalo. Glow Gallery (224 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14201): Illuminating the Darkness, photographs by Nick Butler, on view through Jul 26, presented by Wise Arts. Thu & Fri 4-8pm, Sat & Sun 3-7pm. Hallwalls (341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202, 854-1694, hallwalls.org): Hallwalls 41st Annual Members Exhibition, on view through Aug 28. Tue-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-2pm. Indigo Art Gallery (47 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14202, 984-9572. indigoartbuffalo.com): Cabinet of Curiosities, an homage to the 16th century; group exhibition on view through Aug 15. Wed & Fri 12-6pm, Thu 12-7pm, Sat 12-3pm, and by appointment Sundays and Mondays. Lockside Art Center (21 Main Street, Lockport, NY 14094, 478-0239, locksideartcenter.com): Lockside Members Exhibition on view through Sep 5. Fri-Sun 12-4pm. Market Street Art Studios (247 Market Street, Lockport, NY 14094, 478-0248, marketstreetstudios.com): Filtered Reality, photography by Heather Grimmer, on view through Sep 11. MonSat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm. Native American Museum of Art at Smokin’ Joe’s (2293 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn, NY 14123, 261-9251) Open year round and free. Exhibits Iroquois artists work. 7am-9pm. Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (1201 Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY 14301, 282-7530, thenacc.org): Beyond the Barrel, summer art exhibition, on view through Aug 13. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat & Sun 12-4pm. Pausa Art House (19 Wadsworth Street, Buffalo, NY 14201, 697-9069, pausaarthouse.com): Time Exposures, a solo photography exhibit by John Parascak, on view through Aug 22. Live Music Thu-Sat. Prism (MyBuffaloPride, 224 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14201): The Beauty Within, on view through Aug 31. Thu & Fri 4-8pm, Sat & Sun 3-7pm. Queen City Gallery (617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY, 14203, 868-8183, queencitygallery.tripod.com): Rotating members work on view in the gallery.
Tue-Fri 11am-4pm and by appointment. Open late every First Friday from 6-10pm and every Thursday Open Mic, 7-9pm. Open to all musicians and writers. Squeaky Wheel (617 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, squeaky.org): In the gallery: Hollis Frampton: Select Works. In the storefront gallery: Evan Meaney: Ceibas: The Well of Representation. Both shows on view through Sept 5. Tue-Sat 12-5pm. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (3107 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214): UHAA! Festival, with live music, arts, crafts & vendors, Sat Aug 15 12-8pm; Wood, Metal and Stone: A Sculpture Garden Exhibition, Presented by the University Heights Arts Association, with sculptures by William Herod, Richard Rockford, Robert Then, Mollie Atkinson, Ken Kash & Lawrence Kinney, on view through Aug 31. Sugar City (1239 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY 14213, buffalosugarcity.org): Needles and Columns: Installation by Jesse Pace, opening reception Fri Aug 14, 6-10pm, with artist performance at 9pm. Fri 5:30-7:30pm. TGW@497 Gallery (497 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202, 949-6604): Watermedia 10, works by Rita Argen Auerbach, Roberta Bolt, Todd Chalk,Carol Koziol Clark, Martha Kutas, Catherine O’Neill, Carol Case Siracuse, Denise Sperry, Norine Spurling, Sally Treanor, on view through Aug 29. Wed-Fri 12-5pm, Sat 12-3pm, Fri 5:307:30pm. UB Anderson Gallery (1 Martha Jackson Place, Buffalo, NY 14214, 829-3754, ubartgalleries. org): Transmaterial, a group exhibition curated by Alicia Marvan; Martha Jackson: Graphics: Our Own Devices: Exploring the Tools of Cravens World; These Fragile Truths, UB MFA Thesis by Tricia Butski—all on view through Aug 16, plus Cravens World: The Human Aesthetic, on view through Dec 31, 2016. Wed-Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm. Western New York Book Arts Collaborative (468 Washington Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, 4381430, wnybookarts.org): WNYBAC Annual Members Exhibition, on view through Aug 21. WedP Sat 12-6pm.
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Dan Shanahan, right, rehearsing a room in They Kill Things.
THEY MAKE THINGS
PHOTO BY FLATSITTER
Torn Space Theater’s They Kill Things at Silo City BY AARON LOWINGER JUST AS THE ERIE COUNTY FAIR RAMPS UP this weekend,
theatergoers in Buffalo’s burgeoning cultural space at Silo City will experience a unique carnival atmosphere as part of Torn Space Theater’s They Kill Things.
As they enter the space the audience will be treated to a late-Victorian lawn fête atmosphere complete with blacksmiths, livestock, Maypole dancers, gospel singers, beer concessions, and hooligans. And all of these elements are part of the shifting narrative; even the beer tent will have a beginning, middle, and end. It’s Torn Space’s third annual production at the silos, a tradition that is fast becoming a highlight in Buffalo’s cultural summer landscape. This year the production has grown to six performances spaced out over two weekends and includes the contributions of as many as 60 artists, musicians, singers, dancers, and performers. They Kill Things may not include overt storylines continued from years previous, but director Dan Shanahan is attempting to tie the pieces together thematically in their design and practice. “We’re creating a mythology centered on these archetypes we’re creating,” he says. “So we will begin to use recurring images, motifs, sounds, as far as our soundscape, because everything is originally constructed from a design perspective. The other thing we’re starting to build upon is more of a point of practice. Our philosophy of constructing these pieces at the silos is that we reach out to these various community groups and embed their talents into our overall aesthetic.” Hence cheerleaders and boxers last year, and horses and blacksmiths from Arc Iron Creations this year. After viewing the play’s prologue on the lawn’s main stage, the audience will be divided: One group enters the silos while the other stays on the lawn. Inside the silos, visitors will be treated to room-by-room installations of image and sound set around the basic themes of killing and conception. Each room of the buildings and each station on the lawn is the result of a process many months in the making. Last fall Silo City caretaker Jim Watkins first brought Shanahan and They Kill Things co-writer Melissa Meola into the malt house and Perot elevator and to areas of buildings that have not previously been open to the public at other events. As they toured the facility, the creative process began. “We set about thinking about the images 10 THE PUBLIC / AUGUST 12, 2015 / DAILYPUBLIC.COM
“THE SCALE OF THE SPACE, THE TERRAIN, WHO NEEDS TO GO ON TO FILL IT,” SHANAHAN SAYS. “IT’S VERY DIFFERENT THAN WORKING IN A BOX OF A STAGE…YOU JUST HAVE TO CREATE THIS OPEN SYSTEM AND OFF IT GOES.” we wanted to create, and then the images come directly from the rooms we want to work in,” Shanahan says. “These are massive buildings we’re working in and you have so many options, so many different hallways you can take. So we then map out the trajectory that the audience will take—what rooms are going to be viable, what rooms aren’t. And then hone in on writing narrative for the room, or images for the rooms, that tie within the larger structure. And then within that we start to reach out and pull in groups and people and different talents. And be flexible; I wanted to work with square dancers, but then that fell through and I had to adjust my thinking. “The building itself is so interesting,” Shanahan continues. “Some of these rooms are fantasitc. The one that we’re calling the cathedral—it’ll be just a light and sound space—the surface space of this room is an entire floor of that building, and it is a grain sifter room. There’s these interlocking metal teeth that fills the whole space that also looks down on another floor with the same shape and then the floor below it as well. So it looks like this giant geometric painting with light shining up from it. This will be the cathedral for this town.” Torn Space sees the silos as fertile ground for this kind of experimental work and sees in it an immediate reason to incorporate the talents of the community, “[The silos are] similar to a Greek ampitheater,” Shanahan says. “And borrowing from the power of Greek tragedy is also working with a lot of non-professional actors. I think that’s really getting back to the sort of sense of ritual. And in the larger Greek sense, community is directly involved in the construction of the work.” Greek theater employed a chorus of at least a dozen people who spoke and acted as a single character to symbolize the attitudes of the general population toward the plot of the play. Through it, the audience was given a constant example of how community pushes the action and shapes a group’s perception from the out-
THEY KILL THINGS WRITTEN BY DAN SHANAHAN AND MELISSA MEOLA AUG 13 - 22 / 7PM - 9:30PM THURSDAYS, FRIDAYS, & SATURDAYS SILO CITY, 20 CHILDS ST (NOW SILO CITY WAY), BUFFALO TORNSPACETHEATER.COM
side. In Torn Space’s production, the audience is something of a silent chorus. In what may serve as an impromptu artist statement, Shanahan explains his guiding principles as a director of experimental theater in what can be a conservative town: “How we work a lot for these original pieces, we have to draw upon accessible art types, and then within that abstract it, deconstruct it, and then I think you can have some play.” If not for the sheer spectacle of another summer night disappearing behind the silos, people should attend to witness one of Buffalo’s greatest historical strengths, inscribed in the lobby of City Hall itself: “Talents diversified find vent in myriad form.” “The scale of the space, the terrain, who needs to go on to fill it,” Shanahan says. “It’s very different than working in a box of a stage. It’s incredible. It probably feels something like a film set. There’s all these moving parts and you try to create an organizational structure that pulls it together, pushes it forward and facilitates it. But you don’t have the benefit of film to go back and edit. P You just have to create this open system and off it goes.”
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RICK LATTIMER IS A TRUE LEADING MAN. Handsome, with a sleek shock of black hair, a sturdy physique, and a manly face that can project passionate intensity or childlike innocence, the Buffalo State theater graduate has been in high demand since his return to Buffalo this year. He left for New York City in 2007 and appeared with DJM Productions at the L’il Peach Theatre in that city. Now that he’s back, the gifted actor has glided easily into a fast succession of prominent roles. Currently he is starring as Bérenger, the flummoxed Everyman in the Subversive Theatre production of Eugène Ionesco’s absurdist comedy, Rhinoceros, playing the lone perplexed holdout in a small French town where the citizens all begin to turn into rampaging pachyderms. Earlier this year, he starred as the stable and practical partner opposite Matthew Crehan Higgans, Kerrykate Abel, and Sabrina Kahwaty in BUA’s production of Chad Beguelin’s Harbor, a play about a married same-sex couple living an affluent life in Sag Harbor. In September, he’ll shift gears and appear in a stage adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, again for Subversive. Then he’ll begin 2016 appearing in the American Repertory Theatre of WNY production of John Guare’s House of Blue Leaves.
Producers take note: That means Lattimer might be available in March 2016. Without question, Lattimer has hit the ground running. He returns to this city eight years more mature, more seasoned, as talented as ever, and ready to take on some major roles. So who is this man with such boyish charm and vivid stage presence? Here, Rick Lattimer submits to the Public Questionnaire. What word would your friends use to describe you? Random. What quality in your current character is most unlike your own personality? Whining. What quality in your current character is most like your own personality? Nonconforming. When and where were you the happiest? Took a year off from the world and enjoyed the area in and around Sleepy Hollow, New York and the Hudson River Valley. What is your idea of hell on earth? Being very old and being the only one of my family, friends, and loved ones left. What is your greatest fear? Regret for not being braver. Which talent do you most wish you had? To have an ear for other languages and to be able to pick them up and speak them with ease. What superpower do you most wish you had? Magic powers or the Force. What would you change about your appearance? I would like to be a few inches taller. What trait do you most despise in others? Greed. What trait to you most despise in yourself? Vanity. What do you most value in your friends? Moral character.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? I don’t think I can say what that is. What is your guilty pleasure? Eating jars of peanut butter with a spoon. What character from fiction do you identify with most? Doctor Who. What person from history do you identify with most? Herman Melville. Moby-Dick brought no fortune or respect to Melville in his lifetime. Critics were not impressed and the audience didn’t become enthused by the novel. Yet, today it is arguably considered the one of the greatest pieces of American literature ever written. Good for him. Just keep doing and do not worry about the noise outside. What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue? Dutifulness. On what occasion do you lie? Answering questionnaires! What was the subject of your last Google search? Steve Jobs. If you come back in another life, what person or thing would you like to be? Professional golfer or a falcon. What is your most prized possession? My optimism. What role, in which you will never be cast, is actually perfect for you? Lady Macbeth. What is your motto? Never stop hitting P the ball. DAILYPUBLIC.COM / AUGUST 12, 2015 / THE PUBLIC
12 THE PUBLIC / AUGUST 12, 2015 / DAILYPUBLIC.COM
THEY KILL THINGS / TORN SPACE THEATER’S new Silo City theatrical spectacle, created by Dan Shanahan and Melissa Meola, runs August 13-22. This is actress Bonnie Jean Taylor. PHOTO BY FLATSITTER. DAILYPUBLIC.COM / AUGUST 12, 2015 / THE PUBLIC 13
INTERVIEW: JO KOY SATURDAY AUG 15 8PM / HELIUM COMEDY CLUB, 30 MISSISSIPPI ST. / $25-$35 [COMEDY] Comedian Jo Koy is going on vacation this week, but he doesn’t exactly know where. He doesn’t really care because he’s been touring relentlessly, and frankly he’ll take any break he can get. He actually hit the stage for the first time 1989—right out of high school—he tells me on a long-distance phone call from his home in Tacoma, Washington. “It’s my passion and it’s what I believe in,” says Koy, who comes to Helium Comedy Club this Thursday, August 13 through Saturday August 15. This week we talked to Koy about how he plans to make a replica of Eddie Murphy’s famous red leather suit using fabric from an old couch.
How has comedy changed since you started your career in Vegas in the early 1990s? I actually hit the stage for the first time in 1989, right out of high school. I used to go to comedy clubs in the 1980s. It wasn’t a hip thing to go to the comedy club with your friends; it was something your dad did. Now I’ve got teenagers coming to my shows—it’s like the young, hip thing to do.
comedy. Owning a comedy club or writing for somebody; just something that has to do with making people laugh. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was 10 years old when I saw my first standup special: Eddie Murphy Delirious. I was hooked, I was like "I gotta do this." I need a red leather outfit, for god’s sake. I’ll wear it to school, I don’t give a fuck if we live in Seattle.
Do you think social media has had anything to do with that? I love social media, it’s the greatest thing to happen to anyone’s career. When I first started, social media was me going to Kinkos and printing out flyers and stuffing them in the windshields of cars. Actually, to this day I still do that, but boy that Instagram and Facebook are lifesavers. I love it.
WOOD BOIS Sex Playlist (EP) Recommended If You Like: “Weird Al” Yankovic, Tenacious D, Soft Cell
The electro goof/goth project released its latest album, Sex Playlist, last week. The 1980s-tinged EP tackles hard-hitting topics that include riding Razor scooters, kidnapped cousins, and smoking meth out of a can.
THE TELEVISIONARIES & THE FOX SISTERS S/T Split 7” (EP) RIYL: King Khan & the Shrines, Harmonica Lewinski
Patty Parks & Bridget Kelly Band 7pm Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst St. $20
LOCAL SHOW PICK OF THE WEEK SONNY BAKER (FULL BAND) W/ DREAMBEACHES ALLEN STREET HARDWARE 245 ALLEN ST, BUFFALO THU, AUGUST 13 / 10PM / FREE
Oh, that’s custom work right there. That’s an old red couch turned into an outfit. Make this pillow a jacket, make the ottoman some pants. There ya go. -CORY PERLA
WEDNESDAY AUG 12
“Pleasure Part” (Song)
Former Longwave drummer and current Demos member Mike James released his elegant and atmospheric new single late last week. “Pleasure Part” was produced by electronic musician Joel Ford (Ford & Lopatin) and will be included on James’s forthcoming solo LP, set to drop on October 17 as part of Cassette Store Day.
It might be tough to find, though.
HAWKER M. JAMES
RIYL: Elliott Smith, Roxy Music
I know, right? Now that I have the money and the opportunity to go buy one, I should do it, man. A nice red leather outfit with red shoes and a red leather cardigan jacket. You can’t get any cooler than that.
If you weren’t a comedian, what would you do? I would definitely be hands-on somewhere with
[BLUES] Two of the area’s most well-known blues belters come together for a night of music that will traverse the lines between classic Texan blues and Southern boogie with a modern, riff-driven, urban sensibility. Bridget Kelly exudes sass and sensuality with her note-bending delivery, while Patty Parks tends to serve it up straight, often with the help of a brass section…for blues lovers, there’s something for everyone. And in this case, there’s also a good cause: Proceeds go to Kids Escaping Drugs. This Wednesday, August 12 at Sportsmen’s Tavern. -CHRISTOPHER JOHN TREACY
A reckless three-track split from Rochester garage-punk acts was released at the end of July through sister city label Reel Time Records. The 7-inch includes a cover of the Clovers’ classic “Love Potion No. 9.”
How come you haven’t busted out the red leather outfit then?
8pm Dreamland, 387 Franklin St. $3-$5
[INDIE] Near structure-less song-poems flow from this Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boston quartet, built around the writing of breathy vocalist/keyboard player Ella Joy Meir. Elements of dream-pop merge with worldly tweaks a la Middle Eastern and Israeli folk music, topped off with an ethereal wash that recalls 4AD artists like Heidi Berry and His Name Is Alive. You’ve heard this sort of thing before, but the difference is that Iris Lune sounds like they might have enough good ideas to sustain a career. They’re at Dreamland on Wednesday, August 12 with Circular Logic, Erica Wolfing, and a DJ set from Soft-Quiet (a.k.a. Bootyhammer). -CJT
THURSDAY AUG 13 Eye On Attraction 10pm Buffalo Iron Works, 49 Illinois St. $5-$8
[PROG ROCK] Eye on Attraction is the brainchild of nationally renowned drummer Andrew Merkle. The four-piece from Scranton, PA surfaced in 2010 equipped with a unique progressive rock sound and an explosive stage presence. Their slick and heavy instrumental execution didn’t hurt either. They recruited Amber Sauls in 2013, and her enchanting sugarcoated vocals top off driv-
14 THE PUBLIC / AUGUST 12, 2015 / DAILYPUBLIC.COM
ing melodies on songs like “Glass Castles,” kicking up EOA’s game a notch. Catch Eye on Attraction at Buffalo Iron Works on Thursday, August 13. -KELLIE POWELL
FRIDAY AUG 14 DJ Craze 10pm Sky Bar, 257 Franklin St. $10
Get the Led Out 6pm Canalside, 44 Prime St. free
[ROCK] Quench your Led Zeppelin thirst with Get the Led Out—seven guys who deliver precise renditions of Zeppelin’s original recordings to a live audience. GTLO is comprised of fans, not impersonators. That’s why they unabashedly use three guitarists to accurately depict the production ingenuity of Jimmy Page, who would layer multiple guitar tracks to obtain a full-bodied, orchestrated sound on songs like “Achilles' Last Stand,” for instance. Adam Ferraioli shoulders John Bonham’s awe-inspiring drumming sounds. It’s a bold move to portray any Zeppelin member, but portraying John Bonham is downright heroic, and Ferraioli deserves a Medal of Honor for his spot-on cover of the legendary “Moby Dick” solo. Catch Get the Led Out at Canalside on Thursday, August 13. -KP
[ELECTRONIC/DANCE] There is a weird thing in the DJ world where DJs “compete” with each other—art is usually the opposite of competition. As far as DJ competitors go, though, DJ Craze is one of the best. He’s won the DMC (or Disco Mix Club) World Championship three times. In a row. That puts him up there with names like Mix Master Mike and Q-Bert, which is nothing to snort at. You can hear this world champion DJ when he comes to SkyBar on Friday, August 14 as part of their rooftop summer EDM series. -CP
The World is a Beautiful Place and I’m No Longer Afraid to Die 6:30pm The Waiting Room, 334 Delaware Ave. $14-$17
[EMO] From Willimantic, Connecticut, The World is a Beautiful Place and I’m No Longer Afraid to Die (TWIABP) is a post-emo/ emo-revival band led by vocalist/guitarist
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saturday september 12
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» $5 » 16+ » Doors: 7pm Show: 8pm
THU 8/13 @ 10PM
EYE ON ATTRACTION
» $5 ADV / $8 DOS » 18+ » Doors: 9pm Show: 10pm
FRI 8/14 @ 9PM ALBERT THE FISH, IRREGARDLESS & SHATTERED GLASS » $5 » 18+ » Doors: 8pm Show: 9pm
SAT 8/15 @ 12PM
INTUNE MUSIC & LIFESTYLE FESTIVAL
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» $20 ADV / $25 DOS » 18+ » Doors: 12pm Show: 1pm
THU 8/20 @ 10PM
DOLLAR DIPLOMACY » FREE » 18+ » Doors: 9pm Show: 10pm
FRI 8/21 @ 5PM FUNK FRIDAY W/ SMACKDAB & RANDLE & THE LATE NIGHT SCANDALS » $5 » 18+ » Doors: 4pm Show: 5pm
FRI 8/21 @ 10PM
AN 80’S PARTY W/ HAIR NATION » $5 » 18+ » Doors: 9pm Show: 10pm
SAT 8/22 @ 9PM
SHARE YO U R EVENT
ANTHONY RE & LUKE CIMINELLI QUINTET
7PM / ASBURY HALL, 341 DELAWARE AVE. / $37.50-$40 [BLUES] The list of musicians credited on Keb Mo’s latest album, 2014’s BluesAmericana, is extensive. It starts with Keb Mo's (a.k.a. Kevin Moore) own work on the record—ranging from bass playing to banjo strumming, guitar picking, horn blowing, and keyboard tapping—and works down through nearly 50 names. Included are composers, sax players, engineers, mandolinists, and even, at the very end, a professional handclapper. They say it takes a community to raise a child; it also takes a community to make a damn good Americana record. Top-rated musicianship is clearly present on BluesAmericana, but Moore also lays out his complex emotional status. His depth shouldn’t scare you away, though; his music is still the equivalent of Grandma’s mac and cheese—comfort food for the ears. The 63-year-old, three-time Grammy Award-winning delta blues musician brings his country Americana tour to Babeville’s Asbury Hall on Thursday, August 13. -CORY PERLA
» $5 » All Ages » Doors: 8pm Show: 9pm
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FRI 8/28 @ 8PM
JOEY’S SHAKEDOWN FESTIVAL
» $20 or $30 (Fri + Sat) » 18+ » Doors: 7pm Show: 8pm
UPCOMING EVENTS THU 9/3 @ 9:30PM
JOE MARCINEK BAND
» $7 ADV / $10 DOS » 18+ » Doors: 8:30pm Show: 9:30pm SAT 9/5 @ 9PM
» $10 ADV / $15 DOS » 18+ » Doors: 8pm Show: 9pm TUE 9/15 @ 5PM
FRI 9/4 @ 9PM
CHRIS BEARD BAND
» $10 ADV / $15 DOS » 18+ » Doors: 8pm Show: 9pm SAT 9/12 @ 9PM
(BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND) » $5 GA / $15 VIP » 18+ » Doors: 8pm Show: 9pm WED 8/16 @ 8PM
FRIENDS OF NIGHT DRAKE WHITE & PEOPLE FUNDRAISER THE BIG FENCE W/ ERIC VAN HOUTEN » $20 ADV / $25 DOS » All Ages » Doors: 4pm Show: 5pm
» $10 ADV / $15 DOS » 16+ » Doors: 7pm Show: 8pm
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16 THE PUBLIC / AUGUST 12, 2015 / DAILYPUBLIC.COM
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak. The ever-fluctuating collective originally formed in 2009 and recently signed to Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz’s Epitaph label. Following up a collaborative, spoken-word EP with Christopher Zizzamia, TWIABP will release a new full-length, Harmlessness, on September 25 featuring their trademark dense, textured sound with multi-layered and heavily effected guitars and synth…along with cello and trumpet. The lineup is always changing, but expect between six and nine players on Friday, August 14 at The Waiting Room with Pianos Become the Teeth opening. -CJT
Rhubarb, Second Trip, Mr. Boneless, Gringo Starr, and God Morgan 10:30pm Mohawk Place, 47 E Mohawk St.
[ROCK] Head down to Mohawk Place this Friday, August 14 to experience a lineup of raw music—from the twisted psychedelia of Rhubarb to the mind-shuffling stoner rock of Second Trip, the indie rock antics of Mr. Boneless, and electronic productions from God Morgen—no crevice of the notorious venue will be spared. Gringo Starr is set to hit the decks. -JEANNETTE CHIN
SATURDAY AUG 15 Jaguar Club 9pm Mr. Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Avenue $5
[INDIE] A five-year hiatus and some lineup shifts seem only to have expanded Jaguar Club‘s musical palette. The new EP, Close, takes the band’s new wave foundation and builds on it, creating additional degrees of tension between the organic, guitar-driven rhythms and playful, synth-pop melodies. The results clearly recall 1980s crooner-noir bands like Echo & the Bunnymen, as evident
on the new single, “Stringer.” Now a fivepiece, with South Buffalo's Patrick Eager on drums, Jaguar Club plays the middle set upstairs at Mr. Goodbar on Saturday, August 15 with the Soft Love headlining and openers Incredible Change. -CJT
Pale Green Stars 8pm Mohawk Place, 47 E Mohawk St. $5
[AMERICANA] A refreshing change from the dead-serious alt-country/Americana trend a la Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell, Syracuse’s Pale Green Stars merges a skilled, twang-informed, self-coined “swampy” approach to the genre, turning out tunes that smack of canned-beer irreverence and Man Show humor. Honky-tonk swagger merges with blues, rockabilly and elements of southern-fried classic rock to create something gritty and fun for those that aren’t easily offended. Pale Green Stars play Saturday, August 15 at Mohawk Place with the Barry Brothers, Heavenly Chill Billies, and the New Coots. -CJT
SUNDAY AUG 16 Summer Festival at Griffis Sculpture Park 12pm Griffis Sculpture Park, 6902 Mill Valley Rd. $10 or free for kids under 12
[FESTIVAL] Not only is Griffis Sculpture Park a unique place for a weekend hike, but it’s a great place for a mini-music festival too. On Sunday, August 16, Griffis Sculpture Park will host the third annual Summer Festival. This year the festival features seven-piece Grateful Dead tribute band Working Man’s Dead, who will perform two sets. Buffalo acoustic folk supergroup the Observers—featuring Allen Greystone, Benjamin Perrello,
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DAILYPUBLIC.COM / AUGUST 12, 2015 / THE PUBLIC 17
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THIS WEEK'S AGENDA FRIDAY AUGUST 14
PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN LANTRY
LADY LUSH & THE VINYLS 8PM at Pausa Art House, 19 Wadsworth St.
The Buffalo-bred, six-piece, soul-pop, creative powerhouse is back in town this weekend. Doors open at 7pm, concert starts at 8pm., and admission is $7. Pausa exhibits Time Exposures, photographs by John Parascak.
RUMMAGE SALE & EDIBLE DELIGHTS
SATURDAY AUGUST 15
12–8PM at Underground Niteclub, 274 Delaware Ave.
Imperial Court Crown Prince George Kelly-Capone brings shopping to the bar, plus baked goods to boot. Shop 'til you drop and help raise money for the charities of Reign 25, including embraceWNY, Evergreen Health Services, and Buffalo United Artists.
MR. AND MISS GAY NIAGARA
SUNDAY AUGUST 16
THE BOTH FRIDAY AUG 14 7PM / TRALF MUSIC HALL, 622 MAIN ST. / $25-$27 [INDIE] “It’s always slightly frustrating,” says Ted Leo, frontman of Ted Leo & the Pharmacists and Chisel, and most recently one half of the Both, with singer/songwriter Aimee Mann. “People will say, like, ‘You’re the punk guy!’ and [to Aimee] ‘You’re the singer and songwriter.’ And Aimee is punk in her own way. She has a history of playing crappy clubs in Boston in her new wave art punk band before 'Til Tuesday and starting her own record label.” In nearly every article about the Both, who released their first album in 2014 on Mann’s SuperEgo Records, they are described as an unlikely pairing. “While I totally understand that in order to describe something, you need to wrap it up and put a little bow on it, it doesn’t really tell you what’s inside—the whole story of what’s inside the box. I didn’t just start writing songs in which I sing softly yesterday and Aimee didn’t just start writing songs that have a monstrous fuzz bass yesterday. The fact is, our music separately is a lot more diverse than I think either of us tend to get credit for,” says Leo. The Both was born during a 2012 tour when Mann was promoting her album Chamer, with Leo opening. Their Twitter conversations became the platform to talk about a collaboration, naming it #Both. Says Leo, “It was right before that year of hashtaging things in real life became completely insufferable. We realize it’s dumb, but it was dumb and funny to us and it doesn’t always necessarily translate. We have a twin secret language sometimes. For a while we were like ‘Put a hashtag on it!’” Mann adds, “We realized it was going to get pretty old because it was too in the parlance; it was too in the moment.” And so, #Both became the Both. They formed a true collaboration. They
wrote together, borrowed from each other in ways that Leo says “might have seemed a little more off limits.” Mann was encouraged to use Leo’s fearlessness and bold songwriting, and Leo was able to ground himself and focus. While Leo and Mann have had long careers in music, Leo states that “There’s a lot of overlap there already that it works in complementary ways, as opposed to complete melding.” Early on in their performing career, the Both was given the opportunity to perform on NPR’s Tiny Desk series. “We were really nervous!” says Mann. “It seemed like a really important thing. A lot was riding on it. As you set up, people start to gather, so you feel like, ‘I need to practice.’ It’s very strange,” she says. Leo adds, “What you may be gathering from this conversation is that neither of us are the type of artists that can just stroll in and be like, ‘Here I am!’ We have a lot of unnecessary shame and fear.” Mann also recalled her performance on the cult television series, Portlandia: “The idea for that experience sprung out of something that happened to Carrie [Brownstein] when she hired a cleaning service and the person who showed up was a singer in a band she was a fan of. And that was so weird, so I think that’s what made them think of me, that I could play that part.” Both Mann and Leo are looking forward to playing Buffalo in the summer season. The handful of times that Leo has played Buffalo have been during a blizzard or snowstorm, he says. Still, he calls Buffalo “a solid place for punk shows.” The Both will perform on Friday, August 14 at the Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo. And feel free to tweet @aimeemann and @tedleo with vegan-friendly restaurant recommendations. -MELISSA MEYER
PUBLIC APPROVED COUNTY PAGEANT 7PM at Club Marcella, 622 Main St.
Anita Waistline returns to Buffalo for her step down from the title, while new contenders compete. Categories are creative wear, formal wear, and talent. The winners take home the crown and $500 cash each. Pageant starts at 8pm. Admission is $5.
WOMEN’S BOOK CLUB
TUESDAY AUGUST 18
ARTSPARKED SATURDAY AUG 15 6–7PM at Pride Center of WNY, 200 S. Elmwood Ave.
The group discusses The Summer We Got Free, the debut novel by awardwinning writer Mia McKenzie, a queer love story, murder mystery, and ghost story all wrapped into one.
11AM / ARTPARK, 450 SOUTH 4TH ST. / FREE [FESTIVAL] Last year Artpark, the gorgeous events venue in Lewiston, held their first ever ARTsPARKed festival. The free, all-day art and music festival was a success, so this year bringing the festival back was a no-brainer—though a lot of brains go into the planning and curating of this all local, all original art-based festival. This year more than 70 regional artists will be on hand to sell their original artwork out of the trunks of their cars as part of the Artist Trunk Show. Hopefully you’re now fully appreciating the creative title of this festival. The festival will also feature two music stages—the Terrace Stage and Grove Stage—thanks to Music Is Art, as well as a live performance and dance stage. Musical acts like Mr. Boneless, the Home Crowd, Bulldog Brass, Sara Elizabeth, DJ Trevethorne, and more than a dozen others will takeover the stages from noon until 7pm. Verve Dance Studio will hold a special breakdancing workshop in between beatboxing by Scantron, fire dancing from Wylde Kyle, and a belly dance performance by the Belly Dance Academy. There will also be a special gallery show in the Artpark Gallery for art priced under $50, as well as some large scale art installations—so save this Saturday, August 15 to experience a full day of art, music, and dance at Artpark.-CORY PERLA
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CALENDAR EVENTS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16
Josh Gage, Tyler Westcott, Kenneth Trabert and Dan Schwach will join as well, alongside intergalactic pop-jazz group Cosmic Kat. Slyboots will also be on hand, which means impromptu drum circles are bound to pop up too. Expect some interactive festivities, as well as beer, wine, and food at this festival, located on the top of the hill at the Mill Valley site in the park. -CP LIVEMUSICEVERYNIGHTFOROVER30YEARS!
Zac Brown Band 7pm Darien Lake, 9993 S Alleghany Rd $40-$100
[COUNTRY] There’s nothing like a Zac Brown Band concert. No other mainstream country band rolls out legit covers of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” or Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in between 10-minute, genre-jumping jams, from Memphis soul to funk, and even grunge. Bold mash-ups of Zeppelin and Charlie Daniel’s Band covers proves their confidence and willingness to stray from their comfort zone in pursuit of putting on a damn good show. Catch Zac Brown Band on their “Jekyll + Hyde” Tour at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday, August 16. -KP
Thrift Store Day (All day) Various Locations
[CELEBRATION] A deal is a deal, but if you are looking for a smokin' deal you may want to make haste and get to Amvets on Thrift Store Day, August 17. From 9am until 9pm Amvets will offer a 25 percent discount by simply mentioning Thrift Store Day at checkout at any of their three locations: 1833 Elmwood Avenue, 2900 Walden Avenue, or 1900 Ridge Road. The focus of AMVETS and their thrift stores has seen some change in recent years. While sales within the thrift store are a driving force behind the ways our community gives back to those that serve us, AMVETS is set on highlighting and educating the general public on the programs, resources, and other measures in place to ensure that our veterans, their families, and communities are taken care of. -SEAN HEIDINGER
TUESDAY AUG 18
INTUNE MUSIC AND LIFESTYLE FESTIVAL SATURDAY AUG 15
Folkfaces Universe Shark / Blue Rootz Houston Gardwell Collective 10PM $5
12PM / BUFFALO IRON WORKS, 49 ILLINOIS ST. / $20-$25 [FESTIVAL] Inspired by the loss of a loved one, Intune debuted last year and was enough of a hit to continue moving forward—a “music and lifestyle” festival promoting the idea of pursuing dreams while making healthy choices and the relationship between the two. This year’s event is on Saturday, August 15 (Woodstock anniversary!) at Buffalo Iron Works from noon until 4am. From noon until 8pm, the parking lot of Iron Works will turn into a pop up market full of merch, food and drink vendors, and live art.Then at 8pm, the music begins inside with the Albrights, Jamestown’s Notixx, Funktional Flow, Radarada, Tw1tch, Space Cubs, Truey V with Good Humans, Coach, Magic Honey, Space Junk, and PA Line, alongside workshops on everything from beatboxing and hula-hooping to yoga, conscientious cooking, and slam poetry. Tickets are $20-$25 and this event is 16+. NOTE: Without a formal photo pass, only small point and shoot cameras will be permitted. -CHRISTOPHER JOHN TREACY
The Jon Lehning Quintet Funky Brewster Electric Watermelon 10PM $5
Kathryn Koch 9PM FREE
den of lions fredtown stompers 8PM $5
Elmwood Village Summer Concert Series: The Tins
happy hour: The Jony James Band FRIDAY
7pm Elmwood Ave at Bidwell Parkway free
[ROCK] From their ramshackle beginnings in Binghamton to a refurbished loft space right here in town, the Tins have come a long way…and so has their progressive indie-pop. The brilliantly titled new Young Blame EP showcases basic rhythm tracks that sound as if they were cut live with flourishes of electronica artfully layered over the top. The resulting four tunes are both heady and smart, informed by a penchant for psychedelia but firmly rooted in catchy pop. Did you have fun seeing the Albrights at Bidwell? Come back and do it all again with the Tins on Tuesday, August 18 with Aircraft. -CJT
The Freshwater Four
Scarlet Reckoning / The Crooked Books 10PM $5
WEEKLY EVENTS EVERY SUNDAY FREE
6PM. ANN PHILLIPONE 8PM . DR JAZZ & THE JAZZ BUGS (EXCEPT FIRST SUNDAYS)
EVERY MONDAY FREE
8PM. SONGWRITER SHOWCASE 9PM. OPEN MIC W. JOSH GAGE
7pm Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. $38-$38
[PUNK] Social Distortion has come a long way since their first appearance in 1978 as a gangly, leather-clad four-piece punk outfit that pioneered Southern California's punk movement. Their debut album Mommy's Little Monster (1983) was heralded as "one of the rare examples" of exciting pop punk by Maximumrocknroll. By the second album the face of pop-punk disestablishment found themselves undergoing a change in style and influence, as frontman and guitarist Mike Ness recovered from drug addiction. The debut of 1988's Prison Bound spelled out influences from the likes of Johnny Cash and the Rolling Stones, leading critics to coin the term "cow-punk" when describing the fresh material. To the delight of old and new fans alike, they'll be delivering a blazing live performance next Tuesday, August 18 at the the Town Ballroom. Nashville songtress Nikki Lane and four-piece alternative country outfit Drag the River are set to open. -JC
MY NADA BRAHMA
happy hour: The neville Francis Band PHOTO BY MAX COLLINS
MONDAY AUG 17
Hieronymus Bogs Leroy Townes The Brown Family Singers
8PM. RUSTBELT COMEDY 10PM. JOE DONOHUE 11PM. THE STRIPTEASERS
MAC DEMARCO SUNDAY AUG 16
EVERY WEDNESDAY FREE
7PM / TRALF MUSIC HALL, 622 MAIN ST. / $23-$25 [ROCK] At 25, Mac DeMarco is the perfect storm: a laid-back, slacker with a stoned musical presence that recalls the exposed nuts-and-bolts, homemade feel of Shuggie Otis’s Information Inspiration or even McCartney’s solo debut, topped with just a sprinkling of early Beck. It’s pop music for sure, but it draws from honorable influences that hipsters can abide while giving younger kids some new names to look up. And DeMarco is also accessible—he even listlessly gives out his address at the end of his new EP, Another One, inviting folks to stop by for coffee. Apparently, some already have. The music is lazy but coherent, much the same way that DeMarco is crazy but simultaneously down to earth (his antics include being prone to publicly exposing his butt and sticking things in it). There’s an element of harmless fun at the core of his overall presentation that pulls you in even if his songs lack get-up-and-go, which is one of the reasons he’s gotten so popular: You want to like him, baked butt-play and all. The fact that he’s talented gives you a viable excuse. See P him Sunday, August 16 at the Tralf. -CHRISTOPHER JOHN TREACY
6PM. TYLER WESTCOTTS PIZZA TRIO
EVERY THURSDAY FREE
5PM. THE DARK MATTER TRIO
EVERY SATURDAY FREE
4:30-7:30PM. CELTIC SEISIUNS (TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY)
248 ALLEN STREET 716.886.8539
DAILYPUBLIC.COM / AUGUST 12, 2015 / THE PUBLIC 19
Rick Springfield and Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash.
STREEP IN THE SUNSET RICKI AND THE FLASH BY GEORGE SAX RICKI AND THE FLASH IS LIKELY to be Meryl Streep’s last
real chance for popular stardom. Jonathan Demme’s movie is best approached as a late career showcase for the actress, an old-fashioned, heart-tugging star turn—albeit with awkward contemporary social touches and cultural embellishments.
From the Edge, the first movie in which she demonstrated her singing ability (doing a cover of Ray Charles’s “You Don’t Know Me”). But that mother-daughter show business soap didn’t do it and Streep, now in her mid-60s, must know this likely will be her last opportunity to work big and capture hearts.
Streep has scarcely been neglected by either the industry or audiences. She is, after all, a multi-award winner whose work has elicited praise and media coverage for over three and a half decades—as well as occasional reservations from the likes of critics David Thomson and Pauline Kael. In a way, she’s functioned as a female version of Spencer Tracy, who was regarded as an actor’s actor in Hollywood, but with a much greater range and a bigger toolbox than he had. But she’s been touted as an actress, an artist, not a pop-culture avatar. This may be one reason she’s lasted so long, but if this movie indicates anything about Streep, it’s that she’s wanted more popular enthusiasm. A quarter-century ago, Mike Nichols tried to help her get that with Postcards
She plays Ricki Rendazzo (nee Linda Brummell), the lead singer in a southern California bar band (whose lead guitarist is played by Rick Springfield). The Flash play in a Tarzana gin mill to small groups of mostly aging regulars. Decades ago, Linda fled her spousal and parental responsibilities in Indianapolis to chase musical glory. She’s wound up in a studio apartment playing weekends in the Salt Well, and a job in checkout at a Whole Foods-style grocery emporium. Out of nowhere—an appropriate locale for this movie—her wealthy ex (Kevin Kline) summons her back to Indiana to help him cope with a despondent daughter (Streep’s real daughter, Mamie Gummer) whose husband has suddenly left her.
IN CINEMAS NOW BY M. FAUST & GEORGE SAX
PREMIERES OPENING FRIDAY AUGUST 14
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.—Film version of the 1960s tv show about the adventures of CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin as they save the world from bad guys. Starring Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, and Hugh Grant. Directed by Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes). Area theaters STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON—Bio-drama about the 1980s rap group NWA, whose members included Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, and Neil Brown Jr.. Directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday). Area theaters
ALTERNATIVE CINEMA A NIGHT AT THE GRINDHOUSE: MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE (1966) and MASTER OF THE FLYING GUILLOTINE (Hong King, 1976)—Grade Z devil worshippers and one of the oddest kung fu movies ever made anchor this double feature evening, which also includes
trailers from other movies you won’t believe were ever actually made. Fri 7:30pm. Screening Room RUNOFF—A family farm in Kentucky is run by a couple who have a sideline in selling and administering chemical supplies to their neighbors. Somewhere out there may be a movie about a family farm that is enjoying economic success, but this isn’t it. Still, debuting writer-director Kimberly Levin approaches what may seem to be familiar material with quiet restraint, as well as a familiarity with the unsavory realities of modern agriculture (she has a degree in biochemistry). Her storytelling is more restrained than you might prefer—there are nay number of details you wish she hadn’t left to our imagination—but her eye for composition is strong, and she gets a terrific lead performance from Joanne Kelly as the mother who has to make a difficult decision. –MF Sat 7 pm, Tue 7:30pm. Screening Room
THEATER INFORMATION IS VALID THROUGH THURSDAY, AUG. 13
ANT-MAN—Despite being the product of a creative team whose backgrounds are in comedy—writers Edgar Wright, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd (who also
20 THE PUBLIC / AUGUST 12, 2015 / DAILYPUBLIC.COM
So, think you can guess what results? Go on, give it a try. Ricki was written by Diablo Cody (Juno) with a clunky assembly-line sentimentality. Dramatically inert recriminations, little interpersonal breakthroughs, and loving triumphs ensue. Here’s Ricki, a prototypical heartland rightist, a female Ted Nugent (with a big American flat tattoo on her back), confronted with a resentful gay son. (A reality-challenged Ricki asks him if he’s involved with anyone, and she doesn’t mean a boy.) All of this is played for crude humor and emotion-grabbing, but none of it is stirring enough to warrant suspension of disbelief. Predictability needn’t be fatal to a comedy, but Cody and Demme seem unconcerned with making their characters and situations the least bit plausible. Kline, in particular, suffers in the role of a fussy ineffectual type. The idea that Ricki was ever a denizen of this gated-McMansion, carefully moderate, country-club world is an inadvertent joke and another example of Hollywood liberals’ political and social insularity. But through it all, you almost have to admire Streep’s skilled adaptability. She’s virtually the whole picture, abetted by her spirited, joyous musical performances. Here and there, she almost overcomes the ill-shaped, tin-eared material. If you’re enough of a fan, you might even enjoy parts of this silly, emoP tionally and socially unmoored movie.
has the title role) and director Peyton Reed (The Break-Up)—this is another standard issue Marvel product, with sections that will fly over the heads of viewers who haven’t seen every other Marvel movie. (Even before being acquired by Disney, they were all about branding.) The special-effects guys do swell work with the first scenes of our hero, equipped with a suit that shrinks him to the size of—well, read the title—navigating a world where tiny things become terrifyingly large. But in standard Marvel structure so much time is spent on setup that there’s little left for a plausible conflict: Corey Stoll has the thankless villain role of the industrial genius with daddy issues who seems to threaten every Marvel superhero. With Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Bobby Cannavale, and Judy Greer. –MF Angola Screening Room, Flix (Dipson), Maple Ridge (AMC), Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Transit Drive-In FANTASTIC FOUR—This third attempt to film the long-running Marvel series (you’re forgiven if you never saw the 1994 Roger Corman version) isn’t as bad as you’ve probably heard; it’s just another cookie-cutter comic book movie, with no more inspiration than a Big Mac. The standard gripe about these movies is that they’re too long. This one is barely 90 minutes, and it’s clearly too short—it’s all origin story, leaving you hungry for some plot (but don’t
count on a sequal). Starring Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell. Directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle). –MF Regal Transit, Flix (Dipson) Maple Ridge (AMC), New Angola, Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Walden Galleria, Sunset Drive-In, Transit Drive-In THE GIFT—It must be close to summer’s end if we get an actual adult drama in the multiplexes of the country. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall star as Simon and Robyn, a couple relocating from Chicago to California for his career. A chance encounter with Gordo (Joel Edgerton), who knew Simon in high school, begins to unravel what seemed like a cozy life. It’s the kind of movie where you don’t want to give away to much—where even saying that much feels like a bit of a spoiler because it sends viewers into the film looking for clues. Don’t be expecting a horror movie (the trailers are misleading, perhaps fearful about what it takes to get an adult audience into theaters this time of year). But this cunningly conceived psychological thriller managed to throw me off guard in time for an unsettling conclusion. Co-star Edgerton also wrote and directed, making him the breakout guy of the year. –MF Flix (Dipson), Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria INSIDE OUT—A combination of the 1990s sitcom Herman’s Head with Christopher Nolan’s Inception is
PLAYING NOW FILM has no dialogue, only music and sound effects. Audiences and critics love it, but it tanked at the box office because of the North American distributor’s indifferent marketing campaign. Don’t let it pass you by—it’s the most entertaining animated film of the year. Directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak. –MF Flix (Dipson), Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria
LOCAL THEATERS AMHERST THEATRE (DIPSON) 3500 Main St., Buffalo / 834-7655 amherst.dipsontheatres.com AURORA THEATRE 673 Main St., East Aurora / 652-1660 theauroratheatre.com EASTERN HILLS CINEMA (DIPSON) 4545 Transit Rd., / Eastern Hills Mall Williamsville / 632-1080 easternhills.dipsontheatres.com FLIX STADIUM 10 (DIPSON) 4901 Transit Rd., Lancaster / 668-FLIX flix10.dipsontheatres.com FOUR SEASONS CINEMA 6 2429 Military Rd. (behind Big Lots), Niagara Falls / 297-1951 fourseasonscinema.com HALLWALLS 341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo / 854-1694 hallwalls.org HAMBURG PALACE 31 Buffalo St., Hamburg / 649-2295 hamburgpalace.com LOCKPORT PALACE 2 East Ave., Lockport / 438-1130 lockportpalacetheatre.org MAPLE RIDGE 8 (AMC) 4276 Maple Rd., Amherst / 833-9545 amctheatres.com MCKINLEY 6 THEATRES (DIPSON) 3701 McKinley Pkwy. / McKinley Mall Hamburg / 824-3479 mckinley.dipsontheatres.com NEW ANGOLA THEATER 72 North Main St., Angola / 549-4866 newangolatheater.com NORTH PARK THEATRE 1428 Hertel Ave., Buffalo / 836-7411 northparktheatre.org REGAL ELMWOOD CENTER 16 2001 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo / 871–0722 regmovies.com REGAL NIAGARA FALLS STADIUM 12 720 Builders Way, Niagara Falls 236–0146 regmovies.com REGAL QUAKER CROSSING 18 3450 Amelia Dr., Orchard Park / 827–1109 regmovies.com REGAL TRANSIT CENTER 18 Transit and Wehrle, Lancaster / 633–0859 regmovies.com REGAL WALDEN GALLERIA STADIUM 16 One Walden Galleria Dr., Cheektowaga 681-9414 regmovies.com RIVIERA THEATRE 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda 692-2413 rivieratheatre.org THE SCREENING ROOM 3131 Sheridan Dr., Amherst / 837-0376 screeningroom.net SQUEAKY WHEEL 712 Main St., / 884-7172 squeaky.org SUNSET DRIVE-IN 9950 Telegraph Rd., Middleport 735-7372 sunset-drivein.com TRANSIT DRIVE-IN 6655 South Transit Rd., Lockport 625-8535 transitdrivein.com
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
the best I can do for a brief summary of the new makes any impact, as a Queen of England. Directed Pixar animation. As apparently the only person in by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin. –MF. Flix (Dipson), the world who didn’t like it, I don’t expect you to Maple Ridge (AMC), Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagadeprive your children of it on my say-so. But I susra Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden pect that kids are responding to it for the relentless Galleria, Sunset Drive-In, Transit Drive-In movement rather than the plot, which is spun out MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE—ROGUE NATION—Now in its fifth as such a heavy allegory that it collapses under its installment, the series shows no desire to recapture own weight. It’s as overwrought and out of control the sense of team work that was integral to the as Tomorrowland, but a dazzled audience is often a 1960s TV show whose title it bears, reducing the happy one. With the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis rest of the IMF to sidekicks to Tom Cruise and his Smith, Mindy Kaling, Richard Kind, and the dependJames Bond-ian superheroics. The stunts are imably funny Lewis Black. Directed by Pete Docter and pressive, the plot less so (the IMF battles an orgaRonaldo Del Carmen. -MF Four Seasons, Regal Elmnization of re-purposed spies who seem to have no wood, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit particular purpose other than causing havoc). But credit Cruise for casting Swedish actress Rebecca IRRATIONAL MAN—For his annual cinematic offering, Ferguson as his female counterpart: She steals the Woody Allen is back to playing the serious thinkmovie from him, and here’s hoping she comes back er, moral philosopher and existential worrywart for the next installment. With Simon Pegg, Jeremy who made such dour films in the 1980s as Another Renner, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, and Alec BaldWoman, Interiors and September. Irrational Man is win; written and directed by Cruise’s acolyte Chrisnearest in tone to Crimes and Misdemeanors, an extopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher). –MF Aurora, Flix amination of guilt and punishment (or its absence). (Dipson), Hamburg Palace, Maple Ridge (AMC), ReJoaquin Phoenix stars as Abe, a philosophy profesgal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Resor new to an eastern liberal arts college. Suffering gal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Sunset Drive-In from alcohol-exacerbated ennui, he perks up when an overheard conversation offers him a chance to MR. HOLMES—The list of British actors who have not do something that might bring some justice into played Sherlock Holmes shrinks by one as Ian McKthe world. It’s an exploration of an immature, quaellen portrays the great detective as a 93-year-old si-Nietzschian pretent, presumably displaying the retired to the countryside to tend bees. The case director’s self-image as a man capable of rational that caused his retirement three decades earlier thought and conduct above and beyond the conhaunts his failing memory, as he struggles to reventions that bind others. The talky proceedings capture its details for the benefit of an admirer, contain a slight sense of detached irony, but Allen his housekeeper’s young son. Even hidden under abruptly retreats from his own apparent support pounds of makeup and doddering more than he of his character, as if he was too enervated, bored needs to, McKellen turns in a touching perforor blocked to make much of what he started. With mance. But the movie goes a long way (including, Emma Stone and Parker Posey. –GS Amherst (Dipsomewhat tastelessly, to post-war Hiroshima) to son), Eastern Hills (Dipson). make a fairly obvious point about Holmes’s character. Directed by Bill Condon, for whom McKellen JURASSIC WORLD—Unlike last year’s dreary Godzilla, played another late in life icon, filmmaker James there is plenty of giant reptile action in this sequel/ Whale, in Gods and Monsters (1988). With Laura reboot of the 1994 Steven Spielberg film (from MiLinney, Milo Parker and Hattie Morahan. –MF. Eastchael Crichton’s novel) about a theme park popuern Hills (Dipson), North Park lated by cloned dinosaurs. It’s a well-designed Hollywood blockbuster filled with first-rate computer PAPER TOWNS—Adaptation of a young adult novel imagery and the type of Spielbergian thrills that about a nerd enlisted into a mystery by the nextresulted in the creation of the PG-13 rating. In bedoor neighbor he has a crush on. Starring Nat Wolff, tween dino attacks, the script provides sly jabs at Cara Delevingne, and Austin Abrams. Directed by its own cynical merchandising. Chris Pratt makes Jake Schreier (Robot and Frank). Four Seasons, for a capable hero, but the leading female role Regal Elmwood, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) sets onscreen femWalden Galleria inism back a decade or two: She’s no Laura Dern. PIXELS—Ghostbusters versus old school video With Irrfan Khan and Vincent D’Onofrio. Directed by games: That would be a great idea for a summer Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed). –Gregory movie if it had been made about 20 years ago, Lamberson Regal Elmwood, Regal Quaker, Regal when the generation that grew up in video arcades Transit, Regal Walden Galleria was still going to the movies. Adam Sandler and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD—It took 30 years for George Josh Gad are a poor substitute for Bill Murray and Miller to get the fourth installment of his post-apocDan Akroyd as childhood gamers grown into adult alyptic series fof the ground, but his persistence losers who are called on to save the world from an paid off with this spectacular, stunt driven road attack by aliens in the form of Centipede, Donkey chase picture Tom Hardy takes over the title role Kong, and the like. Sandler’s whole career has been (from Mel Gibson) of Max Rockatansky, former about milking the 1980s, but even he seems tired police officer turned lone highwayman trying to of his usual character here, and the production survive in a nightmarish wasteland. But the film is values (Sandler’s company produced it) are shoddominated by Charlize Theron as Furiosa, the most dy. The best that can be said about it is that, unlike fully realized action heroine since Aliens’ Ellen Ripmost of Sandler’s films, it’s inoffensive: you could ley. In a film that is almost one long chase sequence, take your kids to it. But they deserve better. With the cars and stunts are as important as the people, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Monaghan, and they are top of the line creations. Hopefully we Brian Cox, and Sean Bean. Directed by Chris Columwon’t have to wait 30 years for the next installment. bus (Rent). –MF Flix (Dipson), Maple Ridge (AMC), –Gregory Lamberson. McKinley (Dipson) Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Sunset DriveMINIONS is as review-proof as a movie gets: Anyone In, Transit Drive-In who enjoyed the Despicable Me movies will already be lined up for this spinoff prequel for Gru’s pill SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE—Fans of Wallace and Gromit and capsule-shaped yellow henchmen. As Scarlet shouldn’t miss the chance to see this spin-off about Overkill, the neurotic villainess with whom they had the residents of a farm owned by a Wallace-ish earlier cast their lot, Sandra Bullock runs a distant farmer and managed by a Grommit-y sheep. Adaptsecond to Steve Carrell’s voice characterization. ed from a TV series that sadly hasn’t been shown But the details are endlessly amusing (pay attenin the US, this feature finds the sheep venturing to tion to the Minion’s speech, which is never actually the Big City to save the farmer after he loses his gibberish.) short on big laughs but consistently memory in an accident. In typical Aardman studio VISITIt’sDAILYPUBLIC.COM FOR MORE FILM LISTINGS & REVIEWS >> giggle-inducing. In a voice cast that features Jon style, the painstaking stop-motion animation (using Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coodolls rather than Claymation) is home to endless slapstick gags, which play even better in a film that gan, and Geoffrey Rush, only Jennifer Saunders
CULTURE > FILM
SOUTHPAW—If last year’s compellingly creepy Nightcrawler found Jake Gyllenhaal borrowing from Robert DeNiro’s playbook (part Travis Bickle, part Rupert Pupkin), this boxing drama can be seen as his channeling DeNiro as Jake LaMotta, with fight scenes that are as realistic-appearing as they are punishing to watch. But whatever appeal that may have to you, you have to sit through an awful lot of emotional punishment to get to the feel-good ending, as champion fighter Billy Hope loses his family and his fortune and has to fight his way back up from the bottom. Director Antoine Fuqua has visual style to spare, but he approaches any kind of drama like a club to beat the viewer into submission: It’s as unpleasant a movie as you’re likely to find out at a multiplex this year. Written by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter. Co-starring Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, and 50 Cent. –MF Maple Ridge (AMC), Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria SPY—At last, a starring role for Melissa McCarthy that takes advantage of her substantial talents and doesn’t require her to play a troll. As a CIA desk jockey who gets her first chance at a field assignment, she predictably gets into lots of comic scrapes but just as often displays her physical agility in action scenes. Shooting in numerous European locations, writer-director Paul Feig has fun concocting a gently feminist spoof of the James Bond genre. And he has assembled a terrific ensemble cast in the real sense of that word, including Jason Statham (who plays especially well with McCarthy), Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, and British TV favorites Miranda Hart and Peter Serafinowicz (England’s answer to Hank Azaria). Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids). -MF Four Seasons, McKinley (Dipson) TERMINATOR GENISYS—Not a sequel or a reboot but what the comic book guys call a retcon, short for “retroactive continuity”: altering the previous story to fit in with where the producers now want it to go. That they do so self-consciously is initially amusing if you remember the first two films, which are replayed here in condensed versions with a Sarah Connor who has been raised by a protective Terminator since the age of nine. But the story is stretched and remolded so much that it soon becomes shapeless and impossible to connect with emotionally: two hours of CGI effects animating the corpse of a movie that once thrilled us with its originality and style. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, and J. K. Simmons. Directed by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World). -MF Four Seasons, McKinley (Dipson), Regal Transit TRAINWRECK—The combination of edgy comedienne Amy Schumer (writer, star) and director/comedy guru Judd Apatow (working for the first time from a screenplay he didn’t write) will cause no one to say, “It’s exactly what I was expecting.” As a struggling Manhattan journalist devoted to drugs, drinking and hookups, Schumer draws on the comic persona she has honed on three seasons of her Comedy Central sketch show. But while the film contains plenty of the satirical jabs at modern gender issues that made the show a success, it takes a more serious look at the character as she falls in love and considers monogamy. Consistently surprising in ways you won’t expect (the ending is preposterous, inconsistent and adorable, all at the same time); it’s probably the only Hollywood movie of the summer that you need to see if you’re over 25. In a cast headed by Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, and Tilda Swinton, the funniest scenes belong to LeBron James and John Cena. –MF. Flix (Dipson), Maple Ridge (AMC), Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Sunset Drive-In, Transit Drive-In VACATION—Reset, reimagining, reboot; whatever you call it, it’s a terrible movie. Rusty (Ed Helms), the grown-up son of Chevy Chase’s character in the 1980s Vacation movies, decides to take the wife and kids on a cross-country motor trip to a California theme park, as did his father. Predictably, they meet with a series of disasters, most centered on graphic sexual misadventures, irruptions of out-of-control bodily functions, and/or potty humor. The picture’s repetitiously episodic smuttiness, gross-out exertions, and vapid slapstick are threaded through with a smarmy sentimentality about family values, which amounts to casual cynicism. The setup and development are mechanical and barebones: It’s just a series of badly staged scenes of personal calamities, with dialogue consisting of dimwitticisms that seem to be only partly intentional. Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth, and Leslie Mann. Written and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein. –GS Flix (Dipson), Maple Ridge (AMC), Regal Elmwood, Regal Niagara Falls, Regal Quaker, Regal Transit, Regal Walden Galleria, Sunset DriveP In, Transit Drive-In
CULTURE > FILM
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WEDDINGS & ENGAGEMENTS JESSE KATSOPOLIS + REBECCA DONALDSON
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Jesse: Owner of the Smash Club, host of the KFLH’s Rush Hour Renegades and musician Rebecca: Co-host of Wake Up San Fransico
April 18th, 2015 at Disney World in Orlando, FL.
ANECDOTES The couple met a charity date auction in 2005.
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EMPLOYMENT VOLUNTEER USHERS NEEDED for the Irish Classical Theatre Company’s 25th Anniversary Season. Enthusiastic theatre-lovers with a desire to provide an excellent patron experience desired. Please contact Brian Cavanagh at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 853-1380 X105. -----------------------------------------------BAR MANAGER NEEDED! The Irish Classical Theatre Company is seeking a Bar Manager/Bartender for the 2015-2016 Theatre Season. Some experience and LOTS of drive and imagination required to turn a small wine/beer lounge with great potential into a growing concern. Responsible for everything from ordering/stocking to bartending/scheduling. If you’re up for an exciting challenge, call Fortunato Pezzimenti at 853-1380 x103 or email email@example.com. ------------------------------------------------PRIMA PIZZA is looking to hire a responsible PT nighttime delivery driver. Minimum wage plus tips. Call 852-5555, email kevin@ primapizzapasta.com or stop in and ask for Kevin.
Best Man: Joseph Gladstone Maid of Honor: Donna Jo Tanner
Jesse Katsopolis and Rebecca Donaldson of Buffalo, NY were married on Saturday, April 18, 2014 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The bride is the daughter of Jerry and Kerry Donaldson of San FranTHANK YOU cisco.PATRONS She is a 1990 graduate of the University of San Francisco with a bachelors degree in broadcast journalism. She is the well-known NATASHA ALLARD 58 59 60
co-host of the popular morning television program, Wake Up San
TAYLOR GRIFFITH The groom is the son of Nick and 63Irene Katsopolis. He is a 1989 grad-
Francisco. MATTHEW BAKER THOMPSON
uate of the University of Buffalo with a bachelor degree in music JOEY GLADSTONE-RUSSELL history. In addition to his time spent as a touring musician, he is
ELMER PLOETZ owner of The Smash Club and host 66 of the KFLH radio program, Rush
maid of honor was Donna Jo Tanner, best friend and daughter LAURA SUTTELLThe of the bride’s television co-host, Daniel Tanner. The best men were
TAWRIN BAKER Joseph Gladstone and Daniel Tanner, the groom’s respective radio
65. Cabinet dept. VIP
36. Backpacker’s burden
JASON HURLEYter Theme park, where wedding band, The Beach Boys, performed. 1. Bermudas, Bell andthe Barker After a honeymoon trip to the couple is residing in BRETT PERLA their new home in Buffalo. 4. Not quite Barcelona’s BILL BOULDEN best? REGINALD GILBERT 12. Johnson of “Laugh-In”
66. Yet another movie filming in Buffalo, and an alternate title to this puzzle
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LOVERN PHOTOGRAPHY MATT O’BRIEN ALEXIS PERLA DERIK KANE 19 IDEAS FRANKIE NP
67. Word in many Shatner titles
13. Matter of contention 14. “Holy cow!”
38. Like some NYC theaters 39. School with three campuses; abbr. 40. It’s preferred to soda? 43. “Fifth Beatle” Sutcliffe
15. Local org. founded in 1967
1. “Ooh it’s so good” guy
16. James of jazz
17. Last name in cosmetics
45. It’s administered on the forearm
3. Mike A’s flagship restaurant
46. Little rug
18. Swinging event?
20. Actress and singer Gaye, daughter of Marvin
4. Words before problem
47. Underground theater character?
5. Cause a knot to be not
21. Hoax sighting
48. Keach or Lattisaw
22. Trendy 54 Across brand
25. Get pizza, say
8. Shrek, e.g.
28. 1984 Heisman winner
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31. Eponymous village named for Chauncey Mitchell
10. “Alexander’s Feast,” e.g.
55. St. Mary’s School for the ___
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11. Identity theft target: abbr.
56. Sailor’s saint
12. “Yes ___”
57. “Chaud” time
13. Local paper name
58. Like the mot juste
19. Bitmap alternative
59. “C’mon, you’re kidding, right?”
TONY & JOANN MODA
D. LUDWIG AMBER JOHN JASON HURLEY MATTHEW NAGOWSKI
HENRY JAMES KEVIN MCCULLOUGH PHILLIP DUMITRU LORNA PEREZ
36. Was sure of one’s self? 39. Alternatives to foils 41. AMA part: abbr. 42. Waterfront sites
22. “A different read on life” magazine
44. Eatery that serves Saturday Blunch
23. “... the giftie___us...”: Burns
49. Cmdr.’s superior
24. Former flea
50. Weight not charged for
26. Emphatic assertion
54. See 22 across
27. Big word in German ads
55. Second detective?
29. Late lounge singer
PLEASE EXAMINE THIS PROOF CAREFULLY
IF Shooter YOU APPROVE 58. Adams
ERRORS WHICH ARE ON THIS PROOF, THE Diamond PUBLIC CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE. 30. Mom’sPLEASE bro EXAMINE THE AD 61. Fort Erie gait THOROUGHLY EVEN IF THE AD IS A PICK-UP. 32. Phoenix Open org. 62. “Paradise Lost,” e.g.
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22 THE PUBLIC / AUGUST 12, 2015 / DAILYPUBLIC.COM
42 + JESSE KATSOPOLIS REBECCA DONALDSON 55
40 WEDDINGS & 39ENGAGEMENTS
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51. “Don’t ___ innocent “ 52. Aired “I Love Lucy” 53. Bring forth
60. “Cone” or “Cat” intro
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FAMOUS LAST WORDS BACK PAGE
THE GRUMPY GHEY
“THE NOISE” A new documentary examines why and how gay men talk the way we do BY CHRISTOPHER JOHN TREACY
“DAMN, HE WAS PRETTY HOT.”
“Is he gay?” “I dunno—jury’s out on that one.” “Well, did he make the noise?” Through the years, I’ve had countless exchanges like this. Granted, “the noise” has meant different things at different times. In the 1990s, I often used the term to describe a particularly grating speech pattern I’d regularly hear on the Green Line B-train in Boston, which runs up and down the Boston University strip along Commonwealth Avenue. Packs of college-age women from all over the country would flood the cars, yakking on and on to one another about god only knows what—you couldn’t really make out any words, just a tone. Collectively, it sounded like a baby crying crossed with something I’ve since termed Encino Valley Dismissive. (See: vocal patterns of Bangles front gal Susanna Hoffs). Today we call it vocal fry. But “the noise” has also been code between friends for that telling sound that gives away the gay. When in doubt, listen to the way he talks. Rarely did this test ever fail me. And, much as it bums me out to admit, there’s overlap between this gay noise and the vocal fry I’d hear on the B-train. Perhaps that’s why I referred to them the same way…and why the latter made me cringe so hard. It reminded me of something I’d just as soon not know about myself and other gay men at large: We have a tendency to sound like a bunch of blathering teen girls. A new documentary film from journalist David Thorpe called Do I Sound Gay? takes a hard look at the gay vocal noise, examining its origins and effects. In the film, Project Runway’s Tim Gunn calls my above discovery “an incredibly stunning, rude awakening.” No shit. I still occasionally hear him in my head, squealing, “Oooo, see what Anandra did? Major wow factor,” in the Expedia ad from a few years ago. Around that time, Gunn was running around talking about how he hadn’t gotten laid in 30 years. Perhaps his voice had something to do with it. Now in his 40s, Thorpe presents himself as newly single and painfully aware of how he sounds. He hates the gay noise that comes out of his mouth and feels that, with it, he can’t show his most confident face to the world. He doesn’t want to end up like Tim Gunn. Listening to a gaggle of gay men clucking in full-force on the train to Fire Island, Thorpe likens the sound to “a pack of braying ninnies.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Off he goes to a speech analyst, who calls his attention to the nasality of his voice, his sing-song delivery, something called “code-switching,” which represents the different voices we use for different scenarios, the concept of “upspeak,” which refers to the now common habit of ending each statement as you would a question, and “covering,” which is pretty much just what it sounds like it’d be. Thorpe’s journey toward acceptance of his voice takes him through multiple professional consultations and a stroll down memory lane, during which he reconvenes with old friends and family to try and discern when he began sounding gay. Along the way he learns of studies that show how those of us who grew up with strong male influences tend to sound more stereotypically male, whereas gay men that come of age with stronger female role models tend toward a more feminine tone. Thorpe talks to his mother, his brother, his grandmother, and several childhood friends. Curiously, most of them didn’t recall him sounding particularly gay in his early years. I, however, most certainly did. And I was painfully aware of my voice as a kid. And there were other aspects of me that mysteriously seemed to tip people off before I even opened my mouth. In 1977, I switched school systems midway through the year. I was seven years old at the time, and no sooner had I boarded the bus on my first day at the new school than an older kid called me queer—before I even sat down. I hadn’t said a word. To this day I have no idea what she was reacting to. I remember using the word “rather” a lot. “That was rather amusing.” Other kids spat “rather” right back at me. “You sound rather gay.” Eric Roth wasn’t nearly as gentle. “You’re such a fucking woman,” he reminded me on numerous occasions. Eric hasn’t even turned up on Facebook. Maybe he died.
When I wasn’t thinking too much about it, this was just how I spoke. Some of it wasn’t so much gay-seeming as it was just strange. Thorpe’s film touches on the evolution of gay characters on TV and in the movies. So much of my humor came from cartoons and exaggerated television personalities. For instance, I used the word “droll” as a sarcastic quip, but that was something I picked up from watching The Flintstones. Between my word choices and delivery, I was a double-homo-whammy. “The noise” was also the subject of occasional dinner table chat between my parents, who had attended high school (in the 1950s) with a man who later came out. When either spotted him in town, it went like this: “I ran into Max this afternoon. He had his friend with him.” “Oh? How’s Makssss?” “He seemed well. Very tan. They were heading to the club to play tennissss.” At the time, this was hilarious to me, and occasionally seeing Max at the beach club waltzing around in a Speedo was also rather amusing. My parents weren’t hateful people. They were having a laugh at someone else’s expense, true, but—contrary to today’s outrage-based, histrionic, over-reactive culture—that doesn’t equate with hate. In fact, I think it’s helped me keep a sense of humor about myself, being gay, and some of the more over-the-top expressions of homosexuality. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be hurtful when aimed back at me. Riding in an elevator with my parents in my 30s, my father farted (we enjoyed torturing my mother this way—our version of family fun) and I must’ve really been cackling because my mother said, “We need to find you a new laugh.” Pardon? Outside of such isolated incidents, however, I stopped worrying so much about my gay sound later in my teens. I’d always been good at impersonations and became known for the hilarious things I could do with my voice, which deflected criticism. What was once a liability became an asset. Adults, by and large, thought I was well spoken and by the time I was in college, my voice and vocabulary were less of a sticking point with others in my peer group. For Thorpe, however, it produces debilitating anxiety. An out, middle-aged, urban gay male, he confesses he’s afraid his voice is repulsive to other gay men. The fact that so many of those other gay men sound just the same seems lost on him. Why? Well, because we tend not to sexualize other gay men as they appear to us in our daily lives.
Instead, most of us are enamored of the pornographic gay male—the taciturn one that grunts like a Neanderthal while unapologetically taking what he wants from you. As David Sedaris points out during one of the film’s many interview segments, if a figure in gay porn were to do much speaking, he’d lose his sex appeal as the viewer suddenly realizes, “Ugh, he’s just like me.” Like so many passing crushes on the street, attractiveness fades the minute they open their mouths and that purse drops out. And yet, most of us sound like that, at least to some extent. It’s a horrendous dichotomy, and it keeps many of us single. Gay sex columnist Dan Savage—who, ironically, doesn’t sound particularly gay at all—reminds us that as youngsters, the way we walked and talked were the big giveaways. “When you’re young and trying to pass, you police yourself for any evidence that might betray you,” he says. He admits that the main reason some gay men reject others for sounding gay is rooted in misogyny, especially since we’ve spent so much time and energy trying to prove to mass culture that we’re not “not men.” Cue Eric Roth, albeit perhaps from the grave. Worse yet is what that reveals about our sexual value system: By being sexually attracted to a straight masculine sound (as opposed to the reality of the average gay voice), we’re coddling the voices of our early oppressors—older brothers, angry fathers, school bullies, etc. In short, many of us are busy playing a penile game of Stockholm syndrome. Years ago I posted an article about fem-voiced gay men not getting laid on Facebook and the first response (in agreement that feminine voices are a sexual detraction) came from a deaf male. It really concerned me: Is “the noise” so penetrating that even deaf people hear it? A friend of Thorpe, a choreographer who seems enviably happy with himself, sums it up nicely: “This thing of hyper-masculinity is such a conscious performance in gay male culture, all the time, everywhere you go, and it just feels…oppressive, at times, to me…so ungenerous and so unloving.” Ungenerous and unloving—and so sexy to so many of us. Thankfully, the most compelling takeaway from Do I Sound Gay? flies in the face of the hyper-masculine (dilemma?) ideal. The gay men Thorpe speaks with who are the most comfortable with themselves, voice and all, are in long-term relationships. No longer concerned about how they sound to prospective partners, they’re able to let go of the posturing in which many of us become helplessly mired as single guys on the prowl. And yet, they willingly admit that their partners are far from that uber-masculine, pornographic ideal. Indeed, they possess masculine characteristics that reveal and strengthen their mutual attractions over time, but the grunting Neanderthal is nowhere to be found. These men have not asked each other to change. Instead, they’ve become more and more themselves. Being gay sometimes comes with feminine sounds and mannerisms, and just as some of us have spent tons of energy fighting against them, others have worked just as hard to accept them. A man with the confidence to be himself, whatever that may entail, exudes a greater, more lasting, and complex sex appeal than any one-dimensional, alpha-male can even dream of. And, y’know, he might actually stick around after the sex becomes less frequent. P
DAILYPUBLIC.COM / AUGUST 12, 2015 / THE PUBLIC 23
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