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The L Word

A simple “I love you” is never trite or tired, but come Valentine’s Day more individual and evocative expressions of affection seem required. In past years we at AV have solicited your own handmade love poems; we’ve asked you to tell us your worst and best Valentine’s Day stories; we’ve offered up our pages like the bathroom walls of some scary bar on which to scrawl your messages of love and lust. In short, we’ve let you do all the work. This year we’ve decided you deserve a break, and have transferred the heavy lifting to writers who know what they’re about. With any luck these poems may inspire your own words; if not, why then, just steal them and pretend they’re yours:

Vine by Line

Amour, Amour, Amarone

by Paula Paradise

Well-aged wine lies in the dark—living, breathing through the staves of a barrel. Likewise, it is often in love’s shadows, in the blind spots of what we think we know, that we acquire a deeper passion for our companions. Unexpectedly, we gain an appreciation for what previously passed unnoticed; like two beets yanked up out of soil we blink, startled at each other’s red beauty.

Fine Dining

Tables for Two

by Patricia Watson

February 14 is coming around again. Valentine’s Day. Let’s make it a celebration of love! No pining for that special gift, ring or unpopped question. Get with someone you care about and do something to share your affection. Here are some restaurants that will cosset you and your loved one:


Valentine's Day in Black and White

by M. Faust

Did romance exist before the movies? I suppose it must have, but you have to admit that Hollywood perfected it with sophisticated women and beautiful men trading witty dialogue while overcoming artificial obstacles to the kind of rapturous love that only had to last until the words “The End” left us to imagine that they could keep it up for the ensuing lifetimes. And if not, well, there was always another movie to repeat the process.

Mardi Gras

Thank You

Thank you from everyone at Artvoice for making Mardi Gras 2008 a huge success! Extra special thanks to…


Buffalo's Gold Coast

by Geoff Kelly

Sticking Together

by Peter Koch

Getting a Grip

935 Lies

by Michael I. Niman

After years of changing rationales, justifications and reasons as to why the US invaded Iraq, we seem to have reached a national consensus: We invaded Iraq because people told lies. More specifically, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza “Chevron” Rice, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House Press Secretaries Ari Fleisher and Scott McClellan lied to the American Congress, the American people and the world. These lies built public support for the war, muted opposition and created a rationale for elected officials such as Senator Hillary Clinton to vote to allow the invasion even though they should have, and probably did, know better.

Letters to Artvoice

America is a profoundly sick capitalist society in its imperialist stage of development and both its major political parties are bankrupt. They are not the answer to our problems; they are the cause of our problems. As Richard Hofstadter argued in The American Political Tradition, despite their slight differences, both major US political parties adhere to an outmoded political philosophy—self-help, competition, private enterprise and beneficent cupidity. Democracy in America is nominal. In Hofstadter’s words, since its foundation America has been primarily a democracy of cupidity committed to capitalism.

News of the Weird

by Chuck Shepherd

■ China’s historical fascination with crickets has recently been exhibited in cricket beauty contests, singing competitions and prize fights, according to a January Los Angeles Times dispatch, and has led even to increasing vigilance about crickets cheating with performance-enhancing drugs. The fighters duel in terrarium-sized containers, and, according to the Times, “Overhead cameras (project) the action onto large screens,” allowing spectators close-ups of crickets tossing each other around with their powerful jaws. The best fighters may sell for the equivalent of $10,000, are raised on vegetables and calcium supplements, and are sexually active before fights. The doping issue mostly involves the “singers”; slowing the vibration of the cricket’s wings produces an attractively lower pitch.

See You There

Sole & The Skyrider Band, Telephone Jim Jesus, Fourem

by Greg Gannon

James "Blood" Ulmer

by Marcus Scott

Jesse Blumberg

by Jan Jezioro


by Eli George

Calendar Spotlight

Nick Gordon

Bob Marley's 63rd Birthday Celebration

Third Eye Blind

Anal Pudding


by Anthony Chase

To Kill a Mockingbird endures, like Tom Sawyer and Gone with the Wind, as a story that speaks powerfully to the American consciousness. Both provocative and sentimental, Harper Lee’s tale of a little girl named Scout follows three years of her life, growing up in the rural South during the Great Depression. The major event of these years involves her father, Atticus Finch, and his defense a black man from the false accusations of a white man. The story speaks as loudly today as it ever did, and just as universally.


by Javier

The fabulous Leslie Uggams (pictured above) will be starring later this month as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston. The production will also star Lewis J. Stadlen who appeared last year at Studio Arena in Don’t Talk to the Actors. Uggams was last seen on Broadway in 2005 in the revival of On Golden Pond starring opposite James Earl Jones. That revival was cut short because Jones fell ill with pneumonia.


On the Boards

Movie Times

Now Playing

Film Clips

Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights—Hollywood to the Heartland

by M. Faust

You know how most DVDs come with extra features about the making of movie, interviews with the stars and the director, and whatever else was captured on film that fans might find moderately interesting? They seem to have got it backward here. What has been sent to theaters under the exhausting title Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights—Hollywood to the Heartland is the record of a tour the actor put together in 2005. The idea was to expose four up-and-coming standup comedians (one of whom, Ahmed Ahmed, is an old friend of Vaughn’s) to bigger audiences than they were used to. Vaughn hosted the shows and did improvised comic bits between the monologues, aided by occasional appearances by friends like Jon Favreau, Dwight Yoakam, Justin Long and Keir O’Donnell. In order to take advantage of Vaughn’s limited availability, and to give the tour some stunt value, they booked 30 shows in 30 cities over 30 nights. The comics are funny enough, depending on your preferences: John Caparulo was a little crude for my tastes (I’m not surprised to see that he went on to tour with “Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation”), but the others effectively mine their personal experiences for humor, from Ahmed’s experiences as an Egyptian American to Bret Ernst’s Italian neighborhood riffs. But the movie, which runs a not insubstantial 100 minutes, only gives us brief bursts of performance. Most of it is background: the guys on the tour bus, getting ready to go on stage, critiquing themselves after the finish, visiting their families and telling us how supportive they’ve been. There’s tourist footage as the bus rolls across middle America, and a visit with the late Buck Owens in Bakersfield. Those of you who watched A Christmas Story more than once over the holidays may be amused to see Peter Billingsley, the actor who played Ralphie, re-enacting a scene from the “Schoolbreak Special” on which he and a 19-year-old Vaughn first met. (Or you may be horrified to see how cranky he is if you wake him up in the middle of the night.) I would advise waiting for the DVD to come out: Hopefully they’ll pad all this out with some actual comedy.

Left of the Dial

Scott Down & DJ Cutler: Blue Collar Funk: Crate Diggin' in Buffalo 1969-1989

by Donny Kutzbach

Call it local pride to the power of 33 1/3…or maybe 45. Whatever the RPM, I have found the best, most addictive hometown jam since we were demanding America hear us loud, because we were a winner—“Talking Proud.” The hook is that it could predate that early 1980s sloganeering anthem. It’s the title track of the 2008 mixtape Blue Collar Funk, a slab of blue-eyed funk that smirkingly namechecks neighborhoods and nods at area specifics with a keenness that only a Buffalonian could deliver.


Cathedrals of Light, Part 1: Colonel Ward Pumping Station

by Lucy Yau

Michael L. Horowitz is a New York City photographer with an insatiable curiosity who has fallen in love with the architecture of the Queen City and now considers Buffalo a playground for his work. “Buffalo is a treasure trove of intact buildings,” he says. “In New York City when a building isn’t used anymore it is torn down.”

Book Reviews

We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon edited by Kamal Boullata & Kathy Engel

by Heather Bidell

There Are No Doors on a Cocoon: Ugly Little Tales of Nasty Little Humans by Lou Rera

by Forrest Roth

Chew On This

We’re one month into the new year and, as far as restaurateurs are concerned, we’re finally through the worst of it. January is the dregs in the food industry. It would seem that everything’s conspiring to keep customers home—a dearth of healthy eating resolutions, windstorms, snowstorms and cold snaps and, the worst culprit of all, holiday credit card bills. But Valentine’s Day is next Thursday, and so the food industry looks hopefully forward to digging itself out of the hole and kicking off a new food year. If you’re hoping to celebrate with a dinner out on the town, be sure to make your reservations soon! Here’s what else is happening:

Puck Stop

Road Kill

by Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

So are the Buffalo Sabres trading deadline buyers or sellers as the team heads into February? While the team did not crash and burn on their recent road trip, they didn’t exactly make a bold statement either.

Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Happy Valentine Daze, Aries! After meditating about what advice would be most useful for your love life during the rest of 2008, I decided on this observation from 17th-century philosopher Sir Francis Bacon: “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” In other words, you should raise your appreciation for interesting idiosyncrasies and cute “flaws” and odd proportions. They are not inconvenient imperfections that mar the beauty you need in your life. They are the very essence of it.

Ask Anyone

Yesterday I called to make Valentine’s Day dinner reservations at my favorite romantic restaurant, and as soon as I hung up I realized that I’d been going there nearly every Valentine’s Day for 10 years, accompanied over the years by a succession of girlfriends. The thought made me immediately depressed, and, though I know it’s wrong, that depression immediately infected my feelings toward my current girlfriend (who is now on her second V-Day trip to that restaurant). I feel like we’re fooling ourselves.