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Arts Beat: Jimmy does Joan at BUA, the Burchfield gets crafty and 'The Tempest' subsides

With Buffalo theater treasure Jimmy Janowski stepping onto the summer stage this weekend, it's time to get to the Alleyway. Beginning July 13, Janowski is starring in "Mommie Queerest," a drag diva homage to Faye Dunaway's 1981 cult classic (and critically savaged) portrayal of actress Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest." The movie was based on the bestselling "No more wire hangers" autobiography of the same name, written by Crawford's serpent's tooth of a daughter, Christina.

Expect "Mommie Queerest" -- not to be confused with the musical version of "Mommie Dearest" -- to be campier than Crawford's famous arched eyebrows. Todd Warfield is directing the party, which was written by Jamie Morris and first presented by Buffalo United Artists in 2012. This production reunites the original cast, including Michael Blasdell, Michael Seitz and Christopher Standart playing more than 25 characters in a show that BUA promises will have "riotous laughs, drop-dead costumes and bladder leakage pads provided to patrons at the door."

"Mommie Queerest" runs through Aug. 4, with performances at 8 p.m. Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays in the Alleyway Theatre, 1 Curtain Up Alley (in the Main Street Theater District). Tickets are $25, available at 

Celebrating Sylvia Rosen's centennial 

This year's Art in Craft Media Show at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, opening July 12, coincides with the 100th birthday of ceramic artist Sylvia L. Rosen, who was born in Ohio in 1919 and spent most of her adulthood in Buffalo. Rosen helped found and taught in the Creative Craft Center at the University at Buffalo and, after earning a masters in education, was part of Buffalo State College's design department.

According to the Burchfield, Rosen was frustrated during this time by the lack of recognition given to artists working in ceramics, textiles and other media. In response, she and her husband, Nathan Rosen, established the Sylvia Rosen Endowment for Fine Arts in the Craft Media, which funds juried craft-art exhibitions and lectures.

The current show, which contains works by 41 artists, opens with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 12, in conjunction with the opening of another new exhibit, "From the Wealth of Transport: The Artists of Lockport." It contains works by artists Raphael Beck, Frank Penfold and Burr Nichols, who were based in Lockport and active in the international art scene of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. "Art in Craft Media" remains on display through Oct. 27; the Lockport artists show closes Sept. 29.

The openings are part of M&T's Second Friday series at the Burchfield (1300 Elmwood Ave.), with free admission all day, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and live music and free art workshops starting at 5:30 p.m.

Jazz across the street ....

The free Buffalo News Summer Jazz Series continues outside the Albright-Knox Art Gallery at 2 p.m. July 14 with Don Rice and the Bobby Jones Trio. That Sunday also is $5 Family Funday at the gallery, with $5 admission, special activities for the preschool and stroller set, yoga for bigger kids and special hands-on art projects for the whole family. Some programs ask for registration, so check the gallery website,, for more information.

BPO, solo and starring

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra continues its free summer pops performances at 7 p.m. July 11 on the lawn of North Park Academy on Parkside Avenue at Tacoma and Cunard, backed up by the neighborhood's regular Thursday night Farmers Market. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy music from the Beatles, the movies and Beethoven. Daniel Black will conduct.

Two nights later, on July 13, the BPO will play a major role in the 90th anniversary celebration at the Central Terminal (495 Paderewski Drive), when it caps a day full of events with a 7:30 p.m. concert featuring music from the Terminal's 1920s and '30s heyday. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. for music, demonstrations and performances by local cultural groups with roots in the East Side.

One serving of Tater Salad 

Comedian Ron White ("They call me Tater Salad") is a hot ticket for his one-night-stand at 8 p.m. July 13 at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino Event Center in Niagara Falls. Only single tickets are available now, leading Ticketmaster to warn "You'll be sitting solo" in the crowd. Consolation for fans unable to make it to the show:  White's "If You Quit Listening, I'll Shut Up" tour also is available through Netflix.

Bowing out on stage

This is the final weekend to catch Shakespeare in Delaware Park's delightful production of "The Tempest" on Shakespeare Hill, overlooking Hoyt Lake behind the Rose Garden on Forest Avenue. The last show is July 14. Next up is "Love's Labour's Lost," beginning July 25. Also closing July 14 with a 2:15 p.m. show is "The Christians," Lucas Hnath's thought-provoking drama, onstage at Chautauqua Institution. If you want to make a day of it there, the Chautauqua Opera Company's production of "Figaro! (90210)," a modern comic update of Mozart's classic, continues at 7 p.m. in Norton Hall on the institution grounds. For tickets and information, go to








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