Colin Dabkowski - The Buffalo News

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Colin Dabkowski

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.


Len Vaccaro never much cared for dentists."I remember as a kid running around the dentist's office with the towel around my neck, my mother chasing me around," said Vaccaro, a maintenance worker for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. "I remember jumping out of the chair with that thing still attached and just running down the street."For 26 years, Vaccaro manag…

Decades ago, tanned skin was as unpopular as Carrot Top is today.Tans were frowned upon by a classist society that favored pale, rich housewives over darker-skinned day laborers.Today, many teenagers would wonder what their lame ancestors were thinking, running around under parasols, cringing at the thought of poisonous sunlight. After all, doesn't a tan make you, like, at…

Now that school's out for the summer, the thoughts of many kids drift to lazy days in the sun, little league and lemonade.And for some, to vacation Bible school.While many may think "school" and "vacation" don't belong in the same breath, let alone the same dictionary, Western New York's dozens of vacation Bible schools have added a dose of fun to what used to be considere…

Theater review"Henry IV, Part I"Comedy/drama by William Shakespeare featuring Saul Elkin as Falstaff.Continues at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (plus a 6:30 p.m. preshow) except next Sunday. Shakespeare in Delaware Park. 856-4533. With much anticipation, the 29th season of Shakespeare in Delaware Park began Thursday night under ominous skies -- the perfect conditions…

Movie reviewCarandiru **Hector Babenco's docu-style look into an overcrowded Brazilian jail, where prisoners smoke crack and kill each other. With Rita Cadillac, above.Rated R for strong bloody violence/carnage, language, sexuality and drug use. 148 minutes. In Portuguese, with English subtitles. Among a vast cannon of mediocre prison films, Hector Babenco's "Carandiru"…

For three weeks, Sweet Home High School senior Don Schwass painted his feelings directly onto the coarse brick wall of a school hallway for all to see. In any other school, he might have been suspended. But at Sweet Home, Schwass could keep right on painting.Schwass's small rectangular painting shows a tortured red figure, struggling to break away from the bright orange fl…

Every morning at 8:30, the students in Smallwood Drive Elementary School were required to exercise for 10 minutes."Kick, kick, kick!" physical education teacher Jennifer Higgins would shout in a videotaped recording, as the school's 750 pupils stood in their classrooms, kick, kick, kicking their legs and jump, jump, jumping around to her instructions.The program, which Hig…

When Tychsen Yager called to book the Delaware Avenue YMCA for a dodgeball tournament, the woman on the other end of the phone just laughed."I was really surprised that all these adults would want to play dodgeball," said Stephanie Ortman, the YMCA's aquatic director. "But he was serious about it, so I went along with it."And, to Yager's surprise, so did dozens of other We…