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A Saturday Infringement diary

I took my own advice and ambled through Allentown this afternoon with no particular plan for what to see or do, and naturally stumbled upon plenty of worthy stuff. Here's the way my penultimate Infringement day has unfolded so far:

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2:00 p.m.: Since there wasn't much happening on Allen Street, I wandered into Rust Belt Books to check out the selection and found this year's "Self-Infringment" box. The project, started by Ron Ehmke and Brian Milbrand, is a yearly fixture at the festival. Participants can either write down creative assignments (learn a magic trick, perform a one-act play of your own creation on the spot, etc.) on small pieces of paper and put them in the box for the next visitor to pick out, or they can choose from the many envelopes. Perhaps unwisely, I picked the gem below. I hope the Infringement Fest organizers forgive me if I take a while to gather up the courage to complete the assignment. (Check back with me in a few years.)

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3:30 p.m.: After hearing about the play for years, I finally had a chance to cheek out Susan Peters' "Graffiti Theatre," based on the scrawlings in Nietzsche's women's bathroom. I'd been somewhat skeptical that it was possible to make a compelling piece of theater out of drunken bits of sub-standard poetry, but Peters' and the gifted cast she and director Tilke Hill assembled for this reading pulled it off with remarkable skill and humor.

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Far from merely reciting complaints and pieces of half-baked wisdom from the bathroom wall, Peters' play calls up on Friedrich Nietzsche himself (played here by the convincing Scott Kaitanowski) who engages in an imaginary, philosophical conversation with the bar's owner, who happens to be in the midst of an existential crisis. For a one-act, it runs a bit long and has plenty of extraneous bits, but it's absolutely worthy of a full production.

4:30: I've heard a lot about the Buffalo band Folkfaces and happened to catch them playing to a large crowd outside of The Antique Man on Allen Street. Here's their version of the classic "Bye Bye Blues":

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