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.


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Intergenerational sparring matches seem to be trending this theater season. First there was "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks," the saccharine two-hander about an aging woman and her snarky younger dance instructor that kicked off the Shea's 710 Theatre season in September. Now, the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York is mounting Jeff Baron's play "Visiting Mr. G…

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Since 2009, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center and the University at Buffalo have co-sponsored one of the more wonderful town-and-gown collaborations Buffalo has seen in recent decades. The Science and Art Cabaret, which brings painters and professors together to explore a chosen theme, has provided plenty of fascinating investigations through the years on concepts rang…

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In the lobby of the Conventus Building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, a crumpled ribbon of multicolored fabric stretches across the walls of the airy space. The ribbon, meticulously painted by Buffalo artist Terri Katz Kasimov on 300 feet of canvas, is meant to evoke the construction process and its fusion of disparate parts into a cohesive whole. Those intrigue…

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In a Cheektowaga dining room with a dropped ceiling, paper tablecloths and a whooshing HVAC system, a great American tragicomedy is playing out. There is something about the venue for Kyle LoConti's marvelous production of "Steel Magnolias," which opened Sept. 21 in a Desiderio's Dinner Theatre production in Bobby J's Italian American Grille, perfectly suited to the mat…

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On a March afternoon in 1990, Gloria Estefan was on her way to perform in Syracuse when her tour bus hit a jackknifed truck on a snowy Pennsylvania highway. The accident sent Estefan to the hospital with a broken vertebra, cutting down the Cuban-American pop singer at the height of her career. In Syracuse that night, concert promoter Albert Nocciolino and much of Estef…

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The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which has faced criticism from preservationists over planned alterations to its 1962 addition, has announced the hiring of two consulting firms specializing in preservation issues. In a statement released Monday, the gallery announced that it will work with the Buffalo-based group Preservation Studios, New York City-based PBDW Architects a…

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Kurt Von Voetsch has been fighting brain cancer for eight years. That fight has entered a difficult new phase, and the artist is making no secret of it. The title of the Von Voetsch's new exhibition, opening Friday in Buffalo Arts Studio, is "Stage Four." Von Voetsch's work, paired with assemblages by Rochester artists Heather Layton and Allen Topolski, is a messy ar…

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Giacomo Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," one of the most popular operas of the 20th century, will open Sept. 22 in SUNY Buffalo State's Rockwell Hall in a production by Buffalo Opera Unlimited. The 1904 opera, endlessly adapted and revived since its premiere at La Scala in Milan, tells the story of a young Japanese woman and her tragic love affair with an American naval of…

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When Nikola Tesla was a young man growing up in Croatia, as the legend goes, he saw a picture of Niagara Falls and declared at that moment that he would harness the power of all that cascading water. In the last years of the 19th century, Tesla did just that. The world's first major hydroelectric power plant opened at the edge the Niagara River in 1895, successfully tra…

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After a month of technical rehearsals in Shea's Performing Arts Center, the national tour of "On Your Feet!" is finally on its feet. The show, which chronicles the lives and careers of pop music star Gloria Estefan and her producer husband Emilio Estefan, opens with a preview on Sept. 22 and runs through Sept. 30. The Broadway production, directed and choreographed b…

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There are certain pieces of drama that shock you into recognizing the limits of your taste and experience. Certain plays, such as Noël Coward's masterful 1933 comedy "Design for Living," contain the DNA of many things you may have imagined were sui generis, but are now revealed to be pale impressions of superior source material. For a generation raised on "Will &…

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Cuban-American music legends Gloria and Emilio Estefan will visit Buffalo on Sept. 21 to promote the national tour of the musical "On Your Feet!" which launches Friday in Shea's Performing Arts Center. The pair, whose lives and careers are the focus of the popular Broadway show, will appear with Shea's President and CEO Michael Murphy, Broadway producer Albert Nocciolin…

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It's a testament to the smart construction and sentimental appeal of Richard Alfieri's teary comedy "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks" that even a sputtering production can easily earn a standing ovation. Sputtering is putting it kindly for the touring production of the play that opened Sept. 14 in Shea's 710 Theatre, starring Loretta Swit (known to many as Major Margaret…

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The Burchfield Penney Art Center, whose director, Anthony Bannon, departed earlier this year after his second stint at the helm, is charging ahead in his absence with a series of compelling exhibitions. Here's a look at three well worth your time: "A Dream World of Imagination: Charles E. Burchfield's Golden Year," through Nov. 26 If you're feeling the least b…

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A trip to a hermetic, white-walled art gallery during Buffalo's brief and brilliant summers rarely seems as enticing as the sun-soaked alternatives. But for culture-lovers among us, a switch flips in late August, when thoughts of outdoor festivals and languid afternoons turn to the comfort of familiar indoor spaces. Among them are the region's dozens of galleries and…