Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

Cover Story

The Trials of Ralph Hernandez

by Buck Quigley

Next time you pick up a copy of the Buffalo News and read a story critical of West District School Board member Ralph Hernandez, you can bet he’s recently done something to upset Superintendent James A. Williams.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ Democracy in Finland: The Intopii computer firm of Helsinki announced in February that it has installed software to assist voters, who, studies suggest, tend to select candidates who look like themselves. When a voter uploads his or her photo, the Web site will use facial-recognition software to find those among the 800 candidates in March parliamentary elections who most resemble that voter, to ease the difficult burden of citizenship in a democracy. And in March, incumbent parliamentary candidate Jyrki Kasvi launched the new version of his campaign Web site, written entirely in the Star-Trek language Klingon.

Free Will Astrology

by Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You will soon uncover evidence that a seemingly innocuous hot dog vendor is actually creating an army of cyborgs in the sewer system under the streets. You will also make a citizen’s arrest of a grandmother who’s embezzling money from a children’s charity to support her gambling habit. And in the most shocking development of all, you’ll develop the psychic power to exorcise evil spirits that are threatening to demonically possess the Internet. APRIL FOOL! Your imminent future will be interesting, but not that interesting. More importantly, it will be interesting in distinctly non-pathological, unhysterical ways. Your adventures will revolve around healing, fun and education, not trouble, danger and chaos.

Letters to Artvoice

Quoting the mayor from the Buffalo News story titled “DA joins probe in death of worker”: “Business owners should be able to go beyond the bureaucracy to the mayor’s office to solve problems,” Brown said.


The City Bountiful

by Gabe Armstrong

It’s rare that the words “city” and “farm” are uttered in the same breath. In Buffalo this might soon become commonplace.

Queen City Roller Girls

Spring in Their Skates

by Gabe Armstrong

Back in February, the Queen City Roller Girls baptized themselves in a Valentine’s-themed exhibition match called “Slugs and Kisses,” a bout which pitted two teams bearing those names against one another. The Sluggers and Kissers were temporary squads, specially arranged for the sake of the bout.


This Month in Dance

by Jennifer Golonka

Performing this month are four wildly diverse companies, ranging from classical and contemporary ballet to cabaret-style modern dance. This jam-packed calendar of events begins with The Cell Phone Show, a multi-layered dance presentation by the Buffalo-based Nimbus Dance. The Center for the Arts continues to stimulate the dance culture by ushering in three great companies this month. We begin with the classic lines and elegant beauty of Swan Lake, performed by the Moscow Festival Ballet. Next up is the high paced dancing of BJM danse, the modern jazz company from Montreal. Finally, the neo-classical ballet of Configurations Dance, as they present another dynamic repertory program.

Puck Stop

Staring at the Standings

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

It’s the time of year when everyone paying attention to the NHL playoff race gets heavily involved in watching the standings. That goes for fans. If you’re a diehard, certainly you check those listings every day, don’t you? Calculating magic numbers, seeing which team has supplanted whom and projecting what the playoff pairings might look like.

Design Matters

Temporarily Gallery 1716

by Albert Chao

On Friday, March 30, Frank Fantauzzi, associate professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo, will host exhibits by two UB MFA artists, Penelope Stewart and Elinor Whidden, in his ongoing renovation project at 1716 Main Street. During the period of the exhibition, the space will be temporarily named Gallery 1716.


Geoffrey Gatza

by Ted Pelton

Making a lot out of precious little is nothing new to Gatza. In addition to being a resourceful and talented chef, he is one of the leading figures in the local poetry scene and a national figure in today’s poetry avant-garde by way of his Web magazine BlazeVox and its associated small press, BlazeVox Books. This in spite of the fact that Gatza founded BlazeVox for less than it costs for most magazine subscriptions. Today, using an innovative print-on-demand approach and coordinating the labors of his authors to make the books a reality, BlazeVox Books has 50 titles in print and 14 more in production for release by year’s end. BlazeVox’s authors include local authors Michael Kelleher and Forrest Roth, as well as (full disclosure) my own novella, Bhang.

Book Reviews

Half Life by Shelley Jackson

by Christina Milletti

Shelley Jackson has been playing doctor for a long time—Dr. Frankenstein, that is. In her first fiction, the celebrated hypertext Patchwork Girl, Jackson showcases a female body surgically quilted together. Later, in her collection The Melancholy of Anatomy, she exposes the body’s most private parts in stories called “Blood” and “Phlegm,” as well as “Sperm” and “Egg.” More recently, for her project “Skin,” she tattooed a story one word at a time on 2,095 volunteers. Only these “words”—as she calls her participants (several of whom call Buffalo home)—have ever read the full text of the fiction itself. But her readers know where Jackson’s heart lies: in ogling bodies, their various humors, in order to explore the secrets they hold. Indeed, words, like bodies, she warns, are always in a state of becoming, and even more, bodies and words come into being together. If every “body” tells a story, then, she is the surgeon on duty—always prepared for a bit of exploratory fiction with a scalpel like wit. As she remarks in one interview, “I take a good look at some of the stuff the body sheds or oozes: hair, milk, blood. That unnerving stain on the carpet was once part of your body. Now it’s something you should probably clean up. What happened in between?”

Flash Fiction

A Bargain

Waiting, A Rudder, and Something Smooth

Body Double


Deeper Green, and Glowing


by Javier

Movie and theater star Mark Ruffalo (pictured above), who is currently starring in the thriller Zodiac, will also appear in the soon to be released Margaret which was written and directed by playwright Kenneth Lonergan. Ruffalo won acclaim in New York when he appeared in Lonergan’s play This is Our Youth. He subsequently starred in Lonergan’s film You Can Count on Me. After several stage appearances in Los Angeles, Ruffalo made his Broadway debut last season in the revival of Awake and Sing, earning a Tony award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play.


Dear Brother Augustine

by Thomas Dooney

A letter is necessary, in the opinion of Brother Augustine Towey, when circumstances require a personal connection to the word. “Demand,” he says, “is a strong word. But a letter demands expressiveness.”

Film Reviews

The Thanks of a Grateful Nation: Days of Glory

by M. Faust

A Prairie Brainstorm: The Lookout

by George Sax

Film Clips

The Namesake

Operation Homecoming


One Degree of Separation

by Buck Quigley

SXSW 2007: Part II

by Donny Kutzbach

Mozart, Madness and Bach (PDQ)

by Jan Jezioro

Got Live If You Want It

The Sportsmen's Tavern

It’s going on 25 years ago that Dwane Hall bought the Sportsmen’s Tavern in his native Black Rock. Though a musician himself, Hall had no immediate intention to host live music; he just wanted to supplement his income with a bar. Sportsmen’s wasn’t configured for music, he explains: The restrooms were in the wrong place, there were too many dividing walls and a 22-foot shuffleboard game ate up too much room. About 10 years ago, however, Hall knocked down some walls, chucked the shuffleboard and built a stage—and now, to accommodate the growing crowds drawn to the Sportsmen’s top-shelf slate of local and touring acts, he’s pulled out the pool table and the dart machine, too. Sportsmen’s is a neighborhood tavern, but it’s also a musicians’ bar: It’s a home away from home for the region’s lcoal artists, and its reputation as a terrific place to play is well known among touring acts. Artvoice spoke recently about the bar’s evolution with Hall and Kenny Biringer, who books all the shows:

Left of the Dial

Tracey Thorn: Out of the Woods

by Joe Sweeney

My Brightest Diamond: Tear It Down: Remixes for Bring Me the Workhorse

by Donny Kutzbach

Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo: Stravinsky in Black and White

by Jan Jezioro

See You There

The Decemberists with My Brightest Diamond

by Donny Kutzbach

Bonde do Role

by K. O'Day

Patricia A. Parete Fundraiser

by Caitlin Derose

Aaron Lewis

by Shaun Smith

Calendar Spotlight

Brendan Shea

Roger McGuinn & Maria Sebastian

by Shaun Smith

Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities

Thee Phantom

by Caitlin Derose

Jon Dee Graham


The Advice Goddess

by Amy Alkon

My boyfriend of five years was a father figure to his two stepdaughters from his last relationship, and gets teary-eyed when he doesn’t hear from them. The problem is, he’s sneaking calls to them—only calling them or their mother from work. If one of the girls calls him at home, he goes into the other room and gets off the phone quickly. It’s not that I can’t trust him, but part of me feels that their mother’s still on his mind, too. Bringing this up causes a heated argument. He says I’m insecure, it’s driving him crazy and makes him feel hesitant to visit them. Is his behavior suspicious, or am I paranoid?