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Exploring the art, science of improvisation

We tend to view improvisation as the exclusive province of artists.

We don't typically think of scientists as great improvisers, at least not the way we think of the inspired trills of John Coltrane or the low-brow antics of Wayne Brady.

But perhaps we should.

Hallwalls' Science and Art Cabaret, a long-running series of periodic meetings of artsy science types and sciencey art types, will present a program on improvisation in their respective fields at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 in the 9th Ward at Babeville (341 Delaware Ave.).

"Scientists that are good at communicating large ideas and sections of their research are often using the same tools as improv," Doug Borzynski of the Buffalo Museum of Science said in a statement. "The scientific method is a solid procedure for the discovery of new science ideas, but when the right circumstances are not available, we see improv in the laboratory as well."

The cabaret event will feature presentations from Brian Murchison and Kyle Butler, the Comedy Sportz improv troupe, Eva Zurek on "chemical imagination," Tomás Henriques on instrument design and Steve Baczkowski on improvised music.

"Sometimes it's not about answers, but about lots and lots of questions," said Hallwalls curator John Massier. "The end of each cabaret, for me, always has a nice lingering effect, not because anything has necessarily been figured out, but because we've filled the air with the whiff of speculation and dreams.”

The Science and Art Cabaret is a joint project of Hallwalls, the Buffalo Museum of Science, the Techne Institute and the UB College of Arts and Sciences.

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