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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.


Art

Jeremy Twiss just needed a job. So, when the wayward 26-year-old walked into Sweet_ness 7 Café on Grant Street one day in 2013, he told owner Prish Moran he was willing to perform any task she required. "What are your strengths?" Moran asked Twiss during their first encounter. "Well, I hate people," he replied. They both broke down laughing. And just like th…

Gusto

Some stories seem inextricable from the eras in which they were written. The cast and creative team of the Lancaster Opera House's production of "The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd" did their best to thrust this fusty period piece into the present. But despite its clever contemporary framing and fine performances, the anachronistic tone and heavy-handed…

Gusto

In 2007, Drew Piatek was comfortably ensconced in the theater department of the University at Buffalo. He and his fellow students had developed close a camaraderie that seemed unshakable, often spending long days and nights together as they learned the craft of acting and directing. Then, in April of that year, an armed student walked onto the campus of the Virginia …

Art

A large gallery that suffered ceiling damage in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's 1905 building is slated to reopen Wednesday at 10 a.m. after extensive repairs. Gallery staff noticed a crack in the plaster coating of the ceiling last month, prompting a decision to replace the entire ceiling's suspension system. The works in that gallery and an adjoining space constituted…

Art

This may be the biggest rent party Buffalo has ever seen. For seven hours on April 14, 54 local music acts will fill the Tri-Main Center's 525,000 square feet with every imaginable strain of music. Some 55 local artists will transform every corner of the six-floor former windshield-wiper factory into their own personal exhibition spaces. Of course, there will be a ro…

Art

There is a kind of sacred, church-like feeling to Buffalo's post-industrial landscape that you can't quite grasp until you walk into it. Buffalo photographer Bruce Jackson, not unreasonably, has compared the city's grain elevators to the great cathedrals of Europe. Artists of every discipline have been inspired by these concrete buildings and rusting warehouses to write…

Gusto

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…

Gusto

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 …

Gusto

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…