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Columns

Seven years ago this month, the lights went down on the final production of Studio Arena Theatre. The trauma of that institution’s painful and protracted death still lingers in some corners of the cultural community – including my desk at One News Plaza, from which I wrote the longest and saddest cultural obituary I hope I ever have to produce. Many people in this city, …

Columns

There’s some history here to deal with, for sure. We’ve had the likes of Prince, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, U2, the Who, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson, among others, rocking the Super Bowl halftime party. You can’t just waltz in and offer your run-of-the mill three or four tunes culled from whatever set list you…

At first glance, the latest piece of national press about Buffalo looked like many of the others: Another Urban Outfitters ad dressed up as a piece of journalism. “Millennials Are Moving to Buffalo & Living Like Kings,” the clicky-sticky headline on Gothamist proclaimed, instantly launching a thousand snarky Facebook status updates from Buffalo’s newly minted royal cl…

Art

On Tuesday, Jan. 13, faithful fans of the Buffalo Sabres poured into the First Niagara Center or flipped on their flat-screens to watch the team retire the number of Dominik Hasek, one of the greatest players in franchise history. It ought to have been a joyous occasion. But the consensus on Twitter, and in this building, was that the ceremony lacked the pomp and circumst…

Art

At this point, I can almost write the stories with my eyes closed: According to a new report from (insert name of government agency or nonprofit here), arts and cultural organizations contributed (insert astoundingly high dollar figure here) to the (local/national/global) economy last year. The recent barrage of cultural economic impact studies, increasingly employed as …

Columns

Rarely does any experience, however important it may seem at the time, survive in your memory completely intact. But certain jarring moments do stand out, inserting their grappling hooks into your brain and dragging the details around them into sharper focus. It could be anything: The look in an actor’s eyes during an emotional scene; a child’s surprising reaction to an a…

Art

On a recent weeknight in a fluorescent-lit conference room on the Central Library’s main floor, a group of at-risk teens hunched over tables with black markers in their hands, inking in the panels of a comic book they had written together under the guidance of Buffalo artist Jeremy Stock. The half-dozen teens had trudged through the snow to the Thursday night session of Y…

Hell hath no fury like that of a free music lover spurned. So learned writer, rock musicologist and former independent record store owner Sal Nunziato, following the publication on Monday of his op-ed piece “Elegy for the ‘Suits’ ” in the New York Times. The piece, subtitled “The Internet, Not the Labels, Hurt the Music Industry,” is predicated on Nunziato’s belief that t…

Columns

Dave Grohl’s “Sonic Highways” series on HBO seems to have split the crowd down the middle, at least on the local level. It’s an ambitious undertaking Grohl and his fellow members of the Foo Fighters have undertaken, one in which the multiplatinum arena rock band attempts to reclaim its initial position as a collective of indie-rock musicians who came from the underground, …

Columns

I could really make this column short, blunt, and to the point by simply letting you know that Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” is nominated for a Song of the Year Grammy Award, and then going on my merry way. I mean, the subtext is screamingly obvious, isn’t it? For 2015, the music industry that runs the Grammys is sticking to its script by celebrating what sold – …

Art

The battle-hardened veterans filed neatly into the gallery of the Erie County Legislature’s chambers in Old County Hall on Monday afternoon, many of them carrying small placards identifying their individual regiments: The Olmsted Parks Conservancy. The Lancaster Opera House. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Juneteenth. The Orchard Park Chorale. As the meeting came to order…

Neither sex nor sexual violence is the same subject in America anymore. We certainly don’t think about sexual entitlement the same way. And nothing about that subject is splattered across the night sky quite like the death star explosion of Bill Cosby’s reputation. Something has thus far been lost in the general feeding frenzy of new stories every day seeming to provide …

Columns

Rapist. That’s what young comic Hannibal Buress called Bill Cosby in mid-October during a stand-up routine at the Trocadero Club in Philadelphia. The quote in context is this: “13 (the number of women reported to have accused Cosby of being a sexual predator through the years). He has the old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up black people. I was on …

Columns

Rock ’n’ roll and the movies have had a tempestuous relationship. Things got off to a good start, with early movie-music marriages such as “Blackboard Jungle” and “Jailhouse Rock” helping to stoke the nascent fires of primal rock ’n’ roll, and ’60s fare such as “Blow-Up” displaying the simultaneous rise of vibrant virtuoso rock (in this case, provided by the Yardbirds in …

Columns

Ahhh, the good old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For an institution ostensibly designed as a means of honoring and enshrining the best of the best, and in so doing, wrapping up rock ’n’ roll and putting a bow on it, the hall and its doings sure have been a divisive force in pop culture. Getting fired up about the hall is a bit silly, but it’s also difficult to avoid. The m…