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Cover Story

The Age of the Loan Drones

by Ken Ilgunas

At first glance, recent college graduate Dave Antonelli has it all. Nested in a cozy hamlet of rural-suburban Wheatfield, Antonelli, 23, and his fiancée Liz Baker, 28, live in a country home, cheerily stocked with symbols of the American dream.

Still Life

Gallery Show

Still Life gallery show on view Jan. 10th through Feb. 3rd at College St. Gallery, 244 Allen St. Opening reception on Jan. 18th at 7pm.

Mardi Gras 2008

Join us on Fat Tuesday for the 12th annual Artvoice Mardi Gras Parade! Please register your ideas for a parade float or decorated vehicle. All are welcome, groups and individuals. Promote yourself, your business, club or organization.


Selling Us Out

by Peter Koch

The hulking orange excavator at 454 Rhode Island Street stands ominously atop the mountain of rubble and snow that comprises the only remains of the house that’s stood on that site for the past hundred years. These lumbering machines are not uncommon on the West Side, where they frequently sound the death knell for a distressed neighborhood. Here on Rhode Island Street, however, this tractor doesn’t signify a community in decline—the opposite is true, in fact. Here it’s a symbol of what local activists say is a pattern of willful neglect by the city’s real estate division.


Wolf Blitzer, I Have News for You

by Murray Levine

I used to believe that it was only the radio talk show hosts who contributed to the debasement of the level of public discourse. After watching the debates allegedly moderated by distinguished print and television journalists, I have now come to the conclusion that establishment commentators such as Wolf Blitzer and his self-styled, self-serving “best political team” are as much to blame as the numerous loudmouths who infest the airwaves. Tim Russert and his panelists and George Stephanapolous and his regulars are indistinguishable in their emphases on the political game to the detriment of critiquing the substance of candidates’ positions.

Letters to Artvoice

Yesterday at work, we all received the annual “bad news” envelope. Enclosed was the memo stating that next year our company’s healthcare premium would increase by 21 percent! How is this possible? With all the handwringing about healthcare costs being out of sight, hospital closings, consolidations and increased co-pays, how in the world could it jump that much? This means that even with my employer contributing to the plan, I will pay in excess of $7,000 next year to cover my wife, my daughter and myself. Now, the average household income in the Buffalo area is approximately $37,000, and many of my co-workers make this amount or less. When I ask them how they can afford to spend almost 20 percent of their income on healthcare, I found that many of them don’t. With mortgage and car payments, utilities, food and other necessities, they can’t afford the luxury of our company’s healthcare plan. These are conscientious, intelligent family men that need to forego an essential component of safeguarding their families because of cost. It’s not an “option that they have elected not to pursue,” as I have heard stated repeatedly by those who like the system as it presently exists. Just because a healthcare plan is made available to employees doesn’t automatically make it possible for them to participate.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Great Art! At press time, two major pieces of art at galleries in London and New York City were basically holes in the floors of the buildings, yet were the subjects of glowing reviews. Doris Salcedo’s “Shibboleth,” a large crack in the floor of a hall at London’s Tate Modern (on which at least 15 people have suffered minor injuries after tripping) is said to symbolize racial and class divisions in society. Urs Fischer’s “You” at New York’s Gavin Brown Enterprise is actually just a crater, 38 feet by 30 feet by eight feet deep, that, according to one reviewer, meshes “themes of transparency, transformation, disruption and destruction.”

Calendar Spotlight

Toys for Tots Benefit Show

Benefit for Brian Dux

Fred Shafer Live

The Joe Strummer/Clash Tribute Show

Crumbs of Insanity

See You There

The Irving Klaws Live Album Show

by Donny Kutzbach

The Dillinger Escape Plan

by Brad Deck

Rebel Radio Community Jam

by K. O'Day

Stacy Clark

by Caitlin DeRose


by Anthony Chase

If you have attended music and theater events in this community regularly over the past several years, chances are good that you have seen Chet and Janet Mais in the audience. If you don’t know them personally, you would recognize them. Together they have been constant supporters of the arts. Over the years, in their quiet, yet reliably cheerful way, they have befriended countless people at arts institutions. A marvelously charismatic couple, Chet’s open friendliness has always been the perfect complement to Jan’s New England reserve and her wry and incisive wit. Everybody likes them.


On the Boards

Now Playing

Movie Times


God Help the Sister

by M. Faust

Writer-director Noah Baumbach’s first film since his 2005 breakout hit The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding is another tale of a dysfunctional family, albeit one with no connection to his own biography. At its center are two sisters, Margot (Nicole Kidman) and Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh, a.k.a. Mrs. Baumbach).

Film Reviews

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Bakeshop: Sweeney Todd

by George Sax

Neither Tim Burton nor Stephen Sondheim cares much for American movie musicals. In Burton’s case this isn’t surprising or particularly interesting. He says he considers them too “campy,” and he’s got a point.

Film Clips

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

P.S. I Love You

Left of the Dial

Billie Holiday: Rare Live Recordings 1934-1959

by Edward Batchelder

Donald Fagen: Nightfly Trilogy

by Donny Kutzbach

Book Reviews

Dreamworlds of Alabama by Allen Shelton

by Laurence Shine

I Explain a Few Things: Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda

by Tony Leuzzi


Egalitarian Bubbles & Good Whiskey

by Paula Paradise

From mid November to January 1, those of us in wine retail find our lives tossed upon the high seas. Long work hours are followed by stiff appearances at dinner parties already on the dessert course. Frantic errands are performed to assuage the guilt of absenteeism at home, while glimpses of free time grow dim. Days of listening to satellite-transmitted Christmas carols eventually carve lyrical ruts into our subconscious. In the morning, I awake to the drone of my thoughts replaying—“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane…” Pasted to the dropped ceiling of winter skies, a massive paper cut-out of reindeers and a sleigh casts its black humor—welcome to the holidays.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Due to the gravitational pull of the Moon, the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down. A billion years ago, a day lasted only 18 hours. In about 14 million years, it will be 48 hours long. Imagine how much more you’ll be able to accomplish in your future incarnations with all that extra time. By then, I’m sure someone will have also invented a pill that reduces the amount of sleep you need, further boosting your capacity to get things done. In 2008, I predict you will be blessed with a foreshadowing of that glorious period 14 million years from now. You will work smarter and do things more efficiently and engage in less wasted motion and maintain a crisper to-do list. Because of that, time will seem to expand for you.

Ask Anyone

As Christmas approaches, I find myself reflecting on my teenage son’s poor behavior this year. Specifically, he stole my car in the middle of the night, then sideswiped a parked car on his way home. Then he left the scene of the accident, abandoned the car and snuck home. Then he lied about it to me, to his mother and to lots of other people. I don’t want to explain why exactly, but trust me—this was a bigger issue than typical teenage mischief and some bent fenders. It turned into a very big deal before he finally owned up to the caper.