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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.


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Dianne Dwyer Modestini was sure she had a masterpiece on her hands. Shortly after beginning a meticulous, six-year restoration process in 2005, she and her husband, the late art restorer Mario Modestini, were "100 percent convinced" the painting they had been asked to restore was the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Her colleagues agreed, and last year, the painting was so…

Obituaries

An important piece of Robert T. Buck's legacy stands gleaming on Niagara Square, a tensile structure of polished stainless steel set against the muddy concrete backdrop of Buffalo City Court. The sculpture, Kenneth Snelson's "Coronation Day," was installed in 1980 after several years of controversy and political squabbles over its commission and a suggestion from th…

Art

In Buffalo, we mark the change of seasons with certain rituals. For Polish Catholics, Polish former Catholics or anyone who enjoys our company (and beer), it's Dyngus Day. For others, it's a serene stroll through Delaware Park, already filled with the sound of chirping birds. But if you're an art lover, chances are you associate the first Allentown First Fridays gallery…

Gusto

It's a curse and blessing for great Broadway composers that their songs so often outlive the stories they tell. Chances are you know the names of many more ballads in the American songbook than you know titles to the musicals from which they came. For most casual theatergoers, especially those younger than 40, this is likely the case with "The Roar of the Greasepaint, t…

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A structural problem with the ceiling in one of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's largest exhibition spaces has forced the gallery to make emergency repairs and move several artworks out of the gallery to safety. The issue, which gallery officials did not specify, has thrown a wrench into its current exhibition, "Introducing Tony Conrad." The problem occurred in the ceili…

Theater

I didn't know Michael Lodick. Though he was one of those seemingly omnipresent theater figures, whose name you read in programs and see at opening nights, he was one of the few local directors I haven't talked with at any length. So, when it was announced that he died last week during a performance of "The Nance" in the Manny Fried Playhouse, he remained an abstraction …

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Over the last several years, budget concerns have driven local theater companies to produce plays and musicals with smaller and smaller casts. But Artpark, which has just announced an original musical adaptation of "The Odyssey" planned for August, is heading in the opposite direction. Its production will feature 150 cast members recruited from across Western New Yor…

Art

Buffalo poetry is having a moment. During the summer, the concrete chambers of a grain elevator at Silo City fill with the church-like echoes of poetry recited by nationally renowned writers and their local opening acts. Thanks to the work of new small presses and projects like Peach Mag and Foundlings Press joining a bevy of long-established outfits like BlazeVox an…

Art

The Richardson Olmsted Campus – with its ornate sandstone towers and oxidized copper roofs, its sprawling lawns and infinite shades of picturesque decay – is irresistible to photographers. Long before its transformation into a sleek hotel, conference center and soon-to-be architectural museum, the complex has drawn attention from camera-wielding urban explorers both ama…

Obituaries

Feb. 23, 1950 to March 23, 2018 Michael Lodick, a Buffalo theater director and designer known for his committed work ethic and gregarious personality, died Friday while watching a performance of Subversive Theatre's production of "The Nance." The cause was likely a heart attack, according to Mr. Lodick's wife, Elaine. He was 68. Mr. Lodick (in the photo at left weari…

Art

Every year, Erie County residents kick in about $550,000 to fund the operations of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, plus about $60,000 toward the salary of a public art curator. This week, as it has done for the past four years, the gallery is showing its thanks to the county by waiving admission fees for a week for Erie County residents, from March 29 to April 5. "The…

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Adulting is hard. And for Jordan Berman, a young gay man living in loveless terror of his impending 30th birthday and watching his female friends marry off one by one, it's becoming harder by the day. Jordan's struggle to find happiness, to project his outsized emotions somewhere beyond his own addled brain, drives the action of Joshua Harmon's smart play "Significan…

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This week, renderings for a planned neon sign featuring the likeness of Buffalo-born musician Rick James were released. This set off a minor, short-lived controversy over the appropriateness of honoring James, who was convicted of assault in the early 1990s after a pair of violent incidents with women. After considering James' conviction, the authors of the concept anno…

Gusto

A large neon sign featuring the likeness of Buffalo-born funk star Rick James may soon anchor a new project designed to transform a little-known public parking garage near the former Women's and Children's Hospital into a destination for fans of Buffalo music and public art. A rendering provided by the advertising firm Fourth Idea shows James in bright red boots in the …

Art

The written word takes a central role in Jeanne Beck's work, a mixture of abstract acrylic paintings and entrancing mixed media works made with spun polyester, rectangles of metallic leaf and fiberglass screening. Beck, who owns a gallery and studio space in Canandaigua, will exhibit a collection of new pieces in East Aurora's Meibohm Fine Arts starting March 23. The sh…