Arts/Culture

The WBFO Arts & Culture News Desk is co-funded by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York and the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

Young Simon's life is way over-scheduled while The Boy at the Edge of Everything is bored. Their lives intersect at Theatre of Youth. And, while the wife may be constant at Irish Classical, her husband is anything but. Coinciding with the #MeToo movement, Paula Vogel's tale of predatory older man/younger woman opens at Subversive Theatre with "How I Learned to Drive", and in the netherworld of VR and avatars, if they're not "real," are heinous crimes and misdemeanors of any consequence?

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He came, he saw, he designed. It was 150 years ago this year that Frederick Law Olmsted visited the Queen City and began the process of developing Buffalo's public park system. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, which oversees the parks, has announced plans to celebrate the milestone anniversary in the spring and summer.


After directing a fabulous THE PRODUCERS at the Kavinoky, Lynne Kurdziel-Formato brings her talents to MAMMA MIA!, the 1999 juke-box musical set to songs by ABBA, now extended through February 3! Across town, at O'Connell & Company, Victoria Perez has directed AN ACT OF GOD.  And (see listings below) both The Shaw Festival and The Stratford Festival have announced their 2018 seasons.

For many military personnel, readjusting to civilian life can be a battle. Transitioning from active service or returning from deployment can bring on feelings and emotions that are difficult to manage. For some, art can be a way to understand those feelings and find peace within oneself. In his series on the arts and social integration, WBFO’s Scott Sackett talks with artist and U.S. Army Colonel Jim Becker, one of the founders of the Artists/Veterans Art Collaborative.


National Comedy Center

Architectural Digest is out with its list of the "15 Most Noteworthy Museums Opening This Year" and the National Comedy Center in Jamestown is right there among much bigger names like Toronto and Scotland.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The H.H. Richardson building at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center sat derelict for years until preservationists saved the Elmwood Avenue landmark and started turning around the vast structure. The latest addition is a giant new sculpture outside the entrance of what is now a hotel and soon-to-be architecture center.


Gregory Costanzo

As one year closes and another begins, we look back on whom we have "lost" the previous year, but did we really "lose" folks? Truly, their legacy continues to inform us, educate us, and entertain us. 2017 saw the passing of local actor, director, and impresario Tom Dooney, as well as co-founder of the Theatre of Youth, Rosalind Cramer, and one of Buffalo's favorite sons, playwright A.R. "Pete" Gurney.


The same economic, cultural and social forces that affect society affect the theater scene, including more use of social media and less face-to-face social interaction in the theater community.


Kerra Trivieri

Organ music has been part of Christian worship services since the Middle Ages. It has a long history in concert programs, but in the early 20th century, the organ crossed over into public arenas and a new style of organ playing developed for silent movies, stage acts, and sporting events. WBFO’s Arts & Culture Desk producer Scott Sackett visited with organist Curtis Cook, whose innovative flair inspires audiences in the churches, theaters, and other venues where he plays.


Buffalo Academy of Science

Mark Mortenson has been named as the new Executive Director of the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

There are still very good shows to catch, with both A CHRISTMAS CAROLs wrapping up Saturday, December 23; MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM going to Sunday, Christmas Eve, and, at Shea's THE LION KING with all of its swirling movement goes until January 7th in the New Year.


University at Buffalo Music Library

More than 600 musical works performed at the University at Buffalo as far back as 1964 will soon be preserved on digital format. They include works by some of America's most prominent composers of the 20th century.

Racial flashpoints across the United States this year have ignited debate about race and social equality in this country. WBFO Arts & Culture Desk producer Scott Sackett continues his series on the arts and social integration with a look at some of the most pressing social questions in America today, through the prism of Buffalo's Colored Musicians Club.


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The Hebrew prayer from Chabad House Rabbi Moshe Gurary echoed across Canalside Thursday night, as a delegation prepared to light three flames on the menorah towering over the ice rink.

As Buffalo continues to welcome immigrant communities, it needs more theater diversity, but right now we do have two established organizations: the younger Raices Theatre for Puerto Rican and other Latino cultures (currently showing DESDE EL PUENTE: CHRISTMAS EDITION) and the more established Paul Robeson Theatre, Buffalo's oldest continuing theater, part of Buffalo's African American Cultural Center, currently offering MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM through Christmas Eve.


RCM Photography

This week's topics include the A CHARLIES BROWN CHRISTMAS, HELLCAB, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY, and Raices Theatre's DESDE EL PUENTE features 10 short plays with Latino themes, but you don't have to speak Spanish to enjoy this Christmas show.


Photo provided by Shea's 710 Theatre

An old time radio-style show continues at Shea's 710 Theatre.  In fact It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play has been held over through December 16th and 17th.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley met with the director of the on-stage show. 

GoFundMe

The Scintas have been a musical staple from Buffalo's West Side for decades. However this year, the family is mourning the loss of one of their own.

Paul Lamont

Native Americans have served in our nation’s armed forces in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. But over the 200 years since the founding of this country, while Native Americans fought for the United States, federal policies were also aimed at Indian removal. WBFO's Scott Sackett visited with distinguished Seneca artist and Vietnam veteran Carson Waterman, who calls his works “survival art,” a label with a profoundly personal meaning.


Road Less Traveled Productions

The Christmas Season continues to provide dozens of  area productions, with several yet to open, from the high art of Mozart' s MAGIC FLUTE to the dark comedy of HELLCAB and three (3!) takes on IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, from the one night only SHOW UP at Nietzsche's, to performances of A CHRISTMAS CAROL at both the Alleyway and the Shaw, right up through "Christmas Eve Eve" (December 23).

New Phoenix Theatre

This week Peter and Anthony talk about the February 24th trip to Toronto to see KING CHARLES III,  the flights of fancy in CINDERELLA, the appeal for children (of all ages) of THE NUTCRACKER, and Anthony reflects on the theatrical career of David Cassidy.

Scott Sackett

Stories on television and at the movies that include people with disabilities are becoming more prevalent.  But recent studies have found that while the disabled account for nearly 20% of the U.S. population, roughly 2% of characters portrayed on television and in major U.S. films are disabled.  The studies also found that the majority of those roles are still going to able-bodied actors. As part of his series on the arts and social integration, Arts & Culture Desk reporter Scott Sackett visited with a playwright and theater director who, on the local scene, is giving disabled artists an audience and changing the public’s perceptions of disabled people.


This week Peter and Anthony discuss three plays still up this weekend: THE CRUCIBLE with stellar performances by Adriano Gatto and Aleks Malaise at the Kavinoky Theatre; MINDING FRANKIE, a heartwarming, funny play (but take a tissue, too!) with Kristen Tripp Kelley and Christian Brandjes, and PAINTING CHURCHES at O'Connell & Company with many themes, including "you can't go home again."

Punks Against Putin Facebook page

From cooks to bartenders to local musical acts, dozens of volunteers have teamed to present Saturday's Punks Against Putin. Proceeds from the day-long music festival at the Ukrainian-American Civic Center will cover the cost of shipping medical supplies to Ukraine.


Eileen Elibol, WNED|WBFO

The 25th anniversary celebration for Theater Talk at the WNED|WBFO studios was a huge success Monday as hundreds attended to enjoy various stars of local stages perform songs and skits to honor Anthony Chase and his long-time co-host Jim Santella.  Around town, THE CRUCIBLE at the Kavinoky moves beyond the same old (remember reading it in high school?) into powerful "adult" territory and VIOLET perfectly fits the MusicalFare space with a stunning cast.

In a career spanning nearly three decades, Ani DiFranco's music has evolved in countless ways, reflecting everything from a major relocation (from New York to New Orleans) to her acquisition of a funky, shimmery backing band. But she's also kept her core values intact, from her outspoken commitment to progressive social causes to her strenuously maintained independence from the machinery of the music industry.

Eileen Koteras Elibol

Buffalo's theater community turned out Monday night to honor the 25th anniversary of "Theater Talk" on WBFO and the show's co-host from the beginning, Anthony Chase.

WNED-FM

For 40 years, WNED-FM has provided classical music to Western New York and Southern Ontario. Saturday, the station celebrated that anniversary by bringing in international talents Augustin Hadelich and Tim Fain.

WNED|WBFO is celebrating 25 years of Theater Talk and you're invited! Join members of the theater community as we congratulate Anthony Chase on a a quarter century of showcasing Western New York theater. For reservations visit wbfo.org or call 1-800-678-1873. On this program, Peter and Anthony discuss STRAIGHT which is closing this weekend, STUPID * BIRD at A.R.T. and Road Less Traveled's GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.


Karen Lee Lewis

When you see a photograph on social media that seems unreal, reverse search engines and photo forensic tools can help determine whether it’s been manipulated. But if the photo is an artistic expression of extraordinary sensitivity and imagination, the best way to authenticate its truthfulness may be to search within yourself. WBFO's Arts and Culture Desk producer Scott Sackett spoke with visitors at a recent art exhibition about their reactions to the photographs of Karen Lee Lewis. He then spent an afternoon with the artist, looking at different sides of the natural world through her lens.


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