The Buffalo Infringement Festival, a sprawling display of art, theater and music from Buffalo's creative underground, returns this week for an 11-day stretch of unbridled strangeness.
This year's iteration, which runs from July 27 to Aug. 6, includes some 730 individual performances, 50 art installations, 85 venues and 37 open busking and performing events.
The festival, launched in 2004 as an outgrowth of a Montreal-based art collective's efforts to protest the city's official Fringe Festival, is centered in Allentown but reaches into most city neighborhoods.
Festival organizers, a constantly rotating coterie of volunteer curators, describe the festival as "a celebration of all art forms in as many locations as will give us permission around the city of Buffalo."
As usual, the festival provides Buffalo art mavens an opportunity to explore not only new forms of culture, but to get a peek into venues they may not be familiar with. This year, festival venues to explore include Caffeology (23 Allen St.), Hickory Urban Sanctuary (232 Pratt St.), Rudeboyz Artworks, (527 Utica St.) and New Skateland Roller Rink (33 East Ferry St.).
The Infringement schedule, itself an artwork worth admiring, is available at infringebuffalo.org. Below are five performers to check out:
Infringement always attracts a number of singer-songwriters. Newcomer Jessica Miller (stage name Sum'er) delivers an upbeat mix of pop and R&B injected with random smatterings of other styles. She performs at 2 p.m. July 30 at Caffe Aroma (957 Elmwood Ave.), 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at Daily Planet Coffee Co. (1862 Hertel Ave.), 2:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at Locust Street Art (138 Locust St.), 11 a.m. Aug. 5 at the Broadway Market (999 Broadway) and 5 p.m. Aug. 5 at Sewing Souls Studio (356 S. Elmwood Ave.)
Buffalo-born hip-hop artist Diverze, like many Infringement performers, is using the festival as a way to wade into Buffalo's broader musical culture. His music comes straight from Buffalo's streets, contains references to points of local pride such as Loganberry and the Buffalo Braves and aims to bridge the city's many disparate communities and cultures. He performs at 9 p.m. July 28 at Sewing Souls Studio and 7:45 p.m. Aug. 3 at Rudeboyz Artworks.
Long a fixture of Infringement, spoken-word artist Eddie Gomez delivers earnest and sometimes crushing assessments of his hometown and its built-in struggles. His work is ultimately idealistic, each piece serving as its own optimistic vision for a better Buffalo. He reads at 7 p.m. July 27 at Old Editions Bookshop and Cafe (74 E. Huron St.), 7:45 p.m. July 29 at Allen Street Consulting (394 Franklin St.) and 7 p.m. Aug. 3 in the parking lot of Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Circle).
Multi-instrumentalist Paul Kozlowski is going all-out with a series of performances showcasing his skills on stringed instruments. Kozlowski, a world traveler who has worked with the New Phoenix Theatre, performs Flamenco-style guitar, thrash metal and various other kinds of world music with equal proficiency. He'll be showing off his fancy finger-work and stylistic range under the names Sangre del Higo Pico, the Paul Kozlowski Quartet and Flamencilla and Huracan Poli at various times and dates throughout the festival. He'll be hard to miss.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Infringement Fest is its encouragement of multi-disciplinary artists who may have a hard time fitting into more traditional festivals and venues. One example is Traprage, a theater project from the Buffalo artist known as Truey V, which focuses on "the surface stereotypes and tropes of African Americans that permeate our media, entertainment industry, and the dominant culture." Catch the show at 12:30 a.m. July 28 as part of the festival's opening ceremonies in Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.).
Buffalo Infringement Festival
The festival runs from July 27 to Aug. 6 in venues throughout the city. Visit infringebuffalo.org for a full schedule and more information.