Colin Dabkowski, The Buffalo News
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Colin Dabkowski

Editor

Colin Dabkowski is The News' arts critic, responsible for covering visual art and theater in Western New York. Before joining The News in 2007, he worked as managing editor of McSweeney's oral history book series in San Francisco and as a freelance journalist in New Orleans.

Grief can lead the human mind to strange and self-defeating places. You have to be careful not to let it consume you, or you may wind up in a supernatural love triangle with a scam artist and a young male cancer patient who claims to be possessed by your dead wife. And I don't think you want that. This, as far as I can tell, is the lesson embedded in Ken Urban…

I have a confession to make, and I invite you all to judge me for it: In more than three decades as a human being living in the United States, on the Planet Earth, I have somehow evaded "The Sound of Music," one of the most popular musicals in American history. My solution to solving a problem like Maria was to leave it to Maria. I would rather climb any mountain …

We're all used to receiving strange emails from dubious sources that sneak through our spam filters: Nigerian princes looking to unload their fortunes, solicitations for illicit services, purveyors of discount pharmaceuticals. But dead people? That's the suspicion of the main character in Ken Urban's spooky thriller "The Correspondent," a three-character play open…

On stage, Richard Hummert often played the heavy. But in the real world, the Buffalo character actor who died in December after undergoing heart surgery, was a softie. He was known for his easy sense of humor and a constant desire to connect with his colleagues in the Buffalo theater world and with friends scattered across the country. Many of those friends…

There are certain phenomena Buffalonians must experience in their lifetimes. You have to eat at Mighty Taco. You have to watch the Turkey Trot. And you have to see Jimmy Janowski perform on the Buffalo United Artists stage. Until you do, the theater community regrets to inform you that your membership in the diehard Buffalonian club will be on hold. Fortunatel…

Charles E. Burchfield understood the power of nature better than perhaps any other American artist of his generation. His paintings are static records of his own near-religious awe in the face of natural phenomena, from a backyard lightning strike to the first flush of a West Seneca spring. Despite the wonder they inspire, they are solitary things, like private praye…

Fans of screen to stage adaptations will find plenty to like about the 2017-18 season at Shea's Performing Arts Center. And then they will have a chance to witness the biggest Broadway hit in a quarter-century when "Hamilton" comes to Buffalo. In unveiling its 2017-18 season Tuesday, Shea’s announced that the touring version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s magnum opus wi…

No Buffalo actor inspires more cult-like devotion than Jimmy Janowski. The Buffalo United Artists veteran, best known for his wildly campy portrayals of stars and starlets from theater and cinema history, earns entrance applause anytime he walks onstage. Usually, the more outrageous the costume, the louder the applause. So Buffalo theatergoers should get their earplu…

Some of the best arguments in American drama are drug-fueled. Picture George and Martha, blind drunk, stinging each other like caged scorpions in Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Think of Bobby Gould and Charlie Fox, locked in a cocaine-addled battle of wits in David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow.” Remember that young couple you hurried past o…

Even historically aware Buffalonians may not have heard of Mabel Dodge Luhan, the globe-trotting socialite who helped to foster some of the great artistic careers and events of the 20th century. Luhan, best known for her role in turning Taos, New Mexico into a destination for major American artists, is the focus of a touring exhibition opening March 10 in the Burchfiel…

Even on small objects and flat surfaces, the stark line-drawings of Shantell Martin have an immediate and elemental appeal. But the British-born artist, whose solo exhibition "Someday We Can" opens March 11 in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.), really shines when she has some serious space to play with. Take the Albright-Knox's historic sculpture cou…

Several years ago, Dublin-born playwright Bryan Delaney faced a conundrum common to members of his profession: He had a play to write, but no ideas. So he sat silently at his desk in the coachman's cottage of a 16th century castle in County Carlow and waited for inspiration to strike. It came in flickers and fragments. First, the image of a house being overta…

As local entertainment options go, a trip to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery remains one of the better bargains on the market. Its admission fees of $6 to $12 will set you back far less, for example, than a family outing to the movies. Even so, admission remains a major barrier to gallery attendance for those with little disposable income -- a major concern in one of t…

It would be difficult to watch Arthur Miller’s 1955 play “A View from the Bridge” without thinking about the debate now raging over illegal immigration. But just in case you haven’t been paying attention, Robert Waterhouse’s production of Miller’s dark American fable is here to shine a glaring flashlight on the connections between the suspicion-addled Amer…