WBFO Arts & Culture Desk

WBFO's Arts & Culture Desk is funded by the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

Alleyway.com

March will bring a raft of openings, but madness and more signs of the times are on stages this weekend, at both ends of The Alleyway Theatre complex and in the suburbs as well (see listings). This week's conversation was about SCOTCH AND MADNESS and THE END: AMEN and two closings: GLORIOUS and WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW. Theater Talk notes the passing of Mary Haney who graced the stages of Shawfest for 30 years and over 60 productions.

Michael Mroziak / WBFO News

Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has begun work in Buffalo on his latest project, Nightmare Alley, a film based on the 1940s novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. Just before he set to work on a scene inside Buffalo's City Hall, he was honored by local leaders for bringing the latest major film production to town.

File photo

A major new film, Guillermo del Toro's "Nightmare Alley," began production in Buffalo this week. On this week's Press Pass, film commissioner Tim Clark talks with WBFO’s Pat Feldballe about some of the things that can affect a movie shoot in an urban area in the winter. Also, a tip of the hat to Tim on his election as the Association of Film Commissioners International board chairman.


Kyle S. Mackie/WBFO News

New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library are calling on New York State to reverse course on proposed cuts totaling $25 million in funding for public libraries.


Tatiana Gelfand

Anthony remembers Zoe (say "Zo") Caldwell, winner of four Tony Awards (the last for portraying the opera star Maria Callas in MASTER CLASS) who passed away Tuesday at 86, at home, due to complications from Parkinson's. On a recent trip to NYC, he saw Jane Alexander (age 80) in GRAND HORIZONS, Charles Busch (only 65) in THE LEGEND OF LILY DARE, and very much enjoyed the new, more true to life book for THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN.  SCOTCH AND MADNESS opened at the Alleyway did last night while many more plays are about to (see listings).

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The seals were outside the Aquarium of Niagara paddling around, while the sea lions were inside racing around their large pool. Neither knew they will be getting much larger homes in the not-too-distant future.

Matthew Murphy

Mary Magdalene along with Jesus, Judas, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod et. al. sing in the 50th anniversary tour of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Shea's, while Josie DiVincenzo plays 40 different roles in the one-woman WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW about late-in-life pregnancy at Jewish Repertory. And two singers, one glorious, Alberta Hunter, is portrayed by Zoe Scruggs and Ember Tate in COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY at MusicalFare, while the worse singer in the world, Florence Foster Jenkins, is portrayed by Mary Kate O'Connell at her new theater in Kenmore.

hhcinstitute.org

Donations are coming in for the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York’s proposed cultural institute on Buffalo’s West Side.

Twitter

A new romantic comedy from Universal Pictures is scheduled to begin filming in the Buffalo area in April.

Smaller arts and cultural organizations in Erie County will now have an easier pathway to apply for funding.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Across the world, movie fans and moviegoers watched Sunday's Academy Awards to see who the movie industry saw as the best of the best. Film and TV students gathered in Buffalo State College's Student Union for the college's 13th "Night at the Oscars."

Jay Moran/WBFO

Alexis Oltmer recalls how her current exhibition at CEPA Gallery originated three years ago on a visit to Emerald Beach on Lake Erie. "I started to notice tiny, little  (plastic) particles that were every single color in the rainbow. I was just really overwhelmed by them," Oltmer recalled. "When I got home I felt really bad about the fact that I hadn't done anything about that." For Oltmer, it's been angst turned into art.


Nick Lippa / WBFO

History is being made at the Oscars this weekend. The first ever woman conductor, Eimear Noone, will lead the orchestra. Her instrument of choice to lead the group? A baton made by Buffalo’s Phil Aguglia. WBFO’s Nick Lippa visited Aguglia in his workshop where he put on the finishing touches of a baton now on its way to Los Angeles and explained how making a baton for Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra music director JoAnn Falletta played a major role in developing his craft.

Bethany Burrows, musicalfare.com

Agnes Bain spent 41 of her 78 years overseeing the growth of Buffalo's African American Cultural Center on Masten Avenue, the home of the Paul Robeson Theatre (the play JUMP is wrapping there this Sunday afternoon) where she was beloved and is sadly missed. Meanwhile a celebration of blues singer Alberta Hunter in COOKIN' AT THE COOKERY is on stage at MusicalFare, FACTORY FOR MURDERERS is back on stage, and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR is coming to Shea's.

With its expanding array of contributors, Buffalo Rising spreads the spotlight on many of the city's newest trends and businesses. Cole Hastings is among those who have been sampling what's happening. He's tasted what he says are Buffalo's best vegan wings, kept close tabs on the city's hip-hop scene and explored the newest entries into a revived business community in Riverside. Hastings shared some of  his perspective during WBFO's Press Pass.


Buffalo Niagara Film Commission

The Association of Film Commissioners International has elected Tim Clark, film commissioner for the Buffalo Niagara Film Office, as its new board chair.

Thomas O'Neil-White

The Underground Railroad, the Nash House and the Colored Musicians Club are often mentioned as sigficiant Black history sites in Western New York. But a now-empty lot on Michigan Avenue also holds historical significance.

Lawrence Rowswell

It's so "meta" and hilarious when Buffalo's radical feminist troupe, The Brazen-Faced Varlets, puts on a very funny play by Carolyn Gage, THE ANASTASIA TRIALS IN THE COURT OF WOMEN, about a radical feminist troupe putting on a play. The young cast and director of MERCURY FUR also present great ensemble work in an "in yer face" production. While the  flu got the better of FACTORY FOR MURDERERS (think Jack The Ripper), but they're back at the Alleyway. And we remember Buffalo's Mary Loftus (click here for a detailed bio by Anthony).

Press Pass: Western New York's coffee culture

Jan 28, 2020
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Spree

Coffee shops seem to be everywhere around Western New York. Some are popular national chains, while others are locally-owned and operated. The February issue of Buffalo Spree explores Western New York's coffee culture. In this week's Press Pass with WBFO's Mark Scott, Spree editor Elizabeth Licata says today's shops offer good coffee and a place to work or socialize.


Thomas O'Neil-White

Michelle Gigante’s heart belongs to the West Side of Buffalo. For years she owned and operated yoga studios in different Buffalo neighborhoods and the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Davy Knowles

Celtic influenced blues guitarist Davy Knowles is playing Iron Works Sunday night in Buffalo. In the past, he’s toured with Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani. He’s performing new solo album material and spoke with WBFO’s Nick Lippa about what blues lovers can expect next from the Isle of Man native.


Marcus T. Thompson, Jr.

A dozen different shows now into February give present a wide variety of genres, from exposing our hidden motivations in THE ANASTASIA TRIALS, THE ANTIPODES, and JUMP to "detective shows" MISS NELSON IS MISSING or THE MOUSETRAP to plays that portend violence such as COPS AND FRIENDS OF COPS, FACTORY FOR MURDERERS, and MERCURY FUR.

Thursday Night Terrors

Dipson Amherst Theatre's monthly cult-horror movie series is back for its eighth season starting with John Carpenter's 1987 film Prince of Darkness. Thursday Night Terrors, created by local horror fanatic Peter Vullo, has been going strong for almost four years now. He spoke with WBFO about the future of Terrors and shared his favorite horror films of 2019.

Varlets.org

Billed as a "play-within-a-play," the Brazen-Faced Varlets' production of THE ANATASIA TRIALS IN THE COURT OF WOMEN continues through February 2 at Alleyway's Caberet Theater. The play was written by Carolyn Gage. "She's very close to her plays," said Lara Haberberger, Artistic/Executive Director. So close, in fact, that Gage connected via Skype for a recent rehearsal to offer her insights.


File Photo / NPR

Rob's Comedy Playhouse was packed Tuesday night for a comedy show. It was a sold-out house for the comic Louis CK. The comedian is attempting to restore his career after a series of indiscretions halted his career during the #MeToo movement.

The Office of Brian Higgins

Less than a mile separates two of Buffalo’s premier spots to hear live jazz. The Historic Colored Musicians Club and Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center on Tuesday announced a partnership to bring top level international talent to the region.

File photo

The changes in the workplace in the 21st century are many. We’re in a gig economy populated by freelancers and technology lets us work from home, automate processes, and create and market the written word, video and music on our own.  So what factor is helping to grow the film industry in Western New York while also managing costs? Good old-fashioned unionized workers. Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark explains to WBFO’s Pat Feldballe on this week's Press Pass.


Albright-Knox Northland now open to the public

Jan 17, 2020
Heather Hart's new piece-- a life-size rooftop that visitors are welcomed to climb on and underneath.
Kyle S. Mackie / WBFO News

Friday night is the official public opening of Albright-Knox Northland. It’s a temporary home for the art museum while its Elmwood Avenue campus is closed for construction through spring 2022.

Gene Witkowski, Kavinoky Theatre

After an early start for both THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY and COPS AND FRIENDS OF COPS, over half a dozen other productions are up this weekend, including A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Irish Classical with the Buffalo Philharmonic at Kleinhans) and on Monday the second free reading of GOD OF VENGEANCE which is the basis for a Paula Vogel play (INDECENT) coming in March. Take some time to peruse the listings below.

Gene Witkowski

Some things might be worse than you'd think (perhaps the movie version of CATS) and some will be much better than you'd suspect from the title (the gorgeous musical THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY which opens this weekend at the Kavinoky) and one limited run should be greater than the sum of its parts - Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with the complete incidental music by Mendelsssohn.

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