The poor house doesn't exist in name any longer but you can find it in spirit in Ujima Company's powerful collaborative production "Free Fred Brown!," about a man who is jailed for stealing heat for his family's house. The timely show debuted a couple of years ago and now Ujima and PUSH Green are presenting two free performances at 2 p.m. Aug. 3 and 4 in Ujima's new theater space in the former School 77 (429 Plymouth Ave.). Reserve your free tickets at ujimacoinc.org, or call 716-281-0092.
Fred Brown wasn't looking to become a local hero when he bypassed a gas meter to heat his family's home in a poor section of a Rust Belt city much like Buffalo. But when a freak snowstorm hits the area, the community rallies around his case in the name of everyone who lives at the mercy of a utility company. It looks particularly hard at the economic, racial and climate injustice faced by people living in poorly built homes in polluted areas with inadequate services.
The show is directed by Lorna C. Hill. After each performance, PUSH Green will talk with the audience about how individuals can join to reduce greenhouse emissions, support a green economy and lower energy bills.
A photographer's ageless vision
For decades, photographer Rodney Galarneau has focused his artistic eye on the natural world around him, capturing elegant images of trees, shadows and shimmering light. His work – much of it done as black and white prints – has been shown at the Art Institute of Chicago and published in magazines and as posters. Meanwhile, Galarneau, who is now 82, continued to grow and experiment as an artist, with the results now on display in the exhibit "In Thy Light We See Light," with an opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1 at CEPA Gallery.
With his new works, Galarneau manipulates his photos digitally to bring forward waves of color and light, exploring the spectrum and at times enhancing it. As he explains for CEPA, "From my work with the sun I am intrigued with what appears as a contradiction: the camera imposing itself in the image, not just on the periphery but at the very core of the subject."
"In Thy Light" will remain on display through Sept. 7 in the third floor Passageway Gallery at CEPA Gallery is located in the Market Arcade (617 Main St.). If you cannot make it to the reception, regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
When art and science meet
The next night, CEPA is hosting a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 2 across town at the Big Orbit Project Space. "Metabolic Raceway" is a kinetic BioArt installation created by Josh Archer and Chris Copeland, who are fellows in the University at Buffalo's Coalesce BioArt program. The artists sculpted bioreactors from car parts in a design that, over the next several weeks, will break down motor oil using cultured bacteria collected from "post-industrial soil samples" found in and around Buffalo.
Within the framework of the installation, Archer and Copeland explore the legal case of a General Electric engineer who developed a bacteria to break down soil spills, and the company's fight to patent the bacteria. The Big Orbit space is at 30 Essex St., between Massachusetts and Vermont avenues just west of Richmond. In addition to the Aug. 2 reception, the venue is open Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m., or by appointment. "Metabolic Raceway is on view through Aug. 11.
Infringement's final lap
Buffalo Infringement Festival 2019 is going strong with musical performances and art exhibits throughout the city, along with select theatrical presentations. Tim Joyce continues to make his case for calling South Buffalo "SoBo" in "My Blood-Stained T-Shirt," which continues Aug. 1 to 3 in the Manny Fried Playhouse on the third floor of a former industrial building (255 Great Arrow Ave.); tickets are $10.
The Brazen-Faced Varlets show how stage battles are made in "Girl Fight" at 7 p.m. Aug. 1 in Hallways (341 Delaware Ave.), and at 3 p.m. Aug. 3 in Porter Hall of the Karpeles Manuscript Museum (453 Porter Ave.). "Girl Fight" is directed by Stefanie Warwick, who is an advanced actor combatant with the Academy of Fight Directors Canada, an expertise you may not have realized even existed. No tickets, but suggested donation is $10.
Three 10-minute plays excerpted from "In Crazy Love" will be presented in three venues beginning Aug. 1. The free performances "pull back the curtain on all kinds of relationships while teaching a course in the absurdity of romantic love." Shows are at 7 p.m. Aug 1 at Rust Belt Books (415 Grant St.), 6 p.m. Aug. 2 at El Buen Amigo (114 Elmwood Ave.) and 4 p.m. Aug. 3 at El Museo (91 Allen St.).
Also on Aug. 3, the Infringers take over the Broadway Market with free music and art from noon to 5 p.m. in the parking garage, lobby and on the roof. Get inspired and get some delicious sausage while you're there.
The festival concludes Aug. 4 with Megafringe, with eight hours of jam music by eight bands in the Holly Farms parking lot (233 Allen St., across from Nietzsche's). Music begins at noon.