A Comedy of Errata (Thinly Disguised as Arts Reporting)

(The following (it turns out) is as much about the annual glut of identical holiday music offerings as about the shortcomings of this particular article.)

At first I didn't know what to make of ArtVoice. A glance around the front page seemed to be Buffalo-centric; indeed, the magazine seems to serve Buffalo and greater Western New York state. Its radically space-between-words-eschewing title and accompanying tagline ("We've got issues") evokes a sort of serious-if-commercial approach to arts-focused news and reviews in a design-school, independent newspaper-ish style.

I was a little perturbed when I couldn't find an "About" link or anything of the kind. Eventually, I settled on the "Media Kit" (which I found under the "Contact" tab) to find out what kind of publication I was reading. The first thing I learned--the first thing--was that

Artvoice has a broad readership that includes the young and hip, the highly educated and professionals, elected officials and business people. Audit reports show that our readers have substantial disposable incomes and enjoy extremely active lifestyles.

Huh. The Media Kit tagline eschews the "We've got issues" angle, instead opting for "The Best of Buffalo/News Enternainment Opinion Arts."



Double huh! And extra-classy!

Granted, the Media Kit was less of an informational package and more of [read: preciscely] information for prospective advertisers. Perusing the content, however, furthered my perception that ArtVoice is more of a Targeted Advertising Venture for self-described hip 18-34 year-olds with disposable income than an Arty Weekly Indie Newspaper.

"But," you're asking, "what's the classical music coverage like?"

Ah, many thanks, gentle reader. I'm glad you asked!

A Classical Christmas

Awesome. It's good that, once a year, the disenfranchised and marginalized devotees of the Sky God Cult 2.0 have a little time in the spotlight.

One of the greatest pleasures of the holiday season is the opportunity to see and hear a wide variety of Christmas music performed by favorite artists.

Yeah, that's way better than the rest of the year, during which one of the greatest pleasures is the distinct lack of fucking Christmas music.

But, shit: let's play along. So: I'm 18-34, "hip", nominally Christian, and have disposable income above and beyond the extra money that the holidays exact from me to begin with (making me a valuable member of the target audience of ArtVoice).

Figure 1: Target Audience

Oh, and I like me some nostalgia--preferably irony-free nostalgia, thanks very much. What's in store for me, unchallenging-music-wise, this season in Buffalo? Is it...is it the Nutcracker? Oh fuck, I hope someone is doing the Nutcracker!

The following round up highlights some of the most popular events.

Time out. If "round up" were capitalized, it'd probably refer to the weed killer, which might be apt but isn't intended. However, the space cleverly missing from "ArtVoice" seems here to have migrated to the middle of "roundup," which would make sense if it weren't there. But it is, unfortunately. Good editing, ad-savvy fake-hipster marketers!

(In the spirit of the "round up," however, I'll only hit the highlights. If you really want the details of which University of Buffalo faculty member designed the costumes, you'll have to wade through the whole thing yourself.)

A Pair of Nutcrackers and Three Irish Tenors

...walk into a bar?

Seriously, though: is two Nutcrakers even enough? We should play that shit year round.

On Saturday, November 28 at 7pm and Sunday, November 29 at 2pm, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra joins the Neglia Ballet Artists at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in presenting Tchaikovsky’s classic holiday ballet The Nutcracker. This traditional production of the work was conceived and choreographed by Sergio Neglia, artistic director of Neglia Ballet Artists, along with executive director Heidi Halt Neglia.

Blah blah blah, sure, sure. Everyone's doing that. What makes this production special?

What helps to make this production special is that it will feature live musical accompaniment by the BPO.

Um. Do what now?

On Saturday, November 28 at 7pm and Sunday, November 29 at 2pm, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra joins the Neglia Ballet Artists...

What helps to make this production special is that it will feature live musical accompaniment by the BPO.

So...the thing that makes the Buffalo Philharmonic's Nutcracker special is that it...features the Buffalo Philharmonic?

Really? Wow. That is some trippy, fractal shit right there.

Figure 2: Recursion (Explained by Sluggo)

Along with the corps de ballet, soloists, and principal professional ballet dancers, the children’s roles will be filled by students of the Neglia Conservatory of Ballet and other local dancers.

Huh. You'd think all of those professionals would let the children have all of the children's roles. Oh, wait! It's just a really crappy sentence. Never mind.


The Mainstage Theatre of the UB Center for the Arts will once again present the American Academy of Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker on Saturday, December &c...This version of the holiday classic, which is performed to a recorded soundtrack, is narrated by the grandfather at the Christmas Eve celebration at Clara’s home, with special flying effects and a hot air balloon as the prince and Clara visit exotic countries and a Victorian circus.

What? Hot air balloon? Circus? Frame story or something? What?

A favorite of audiences is their visit “Under the Sea,” where lobsters, turtles, mermaids, and sea urchins charm and delight.

That's almost delightfully surreal enough to be intriguing.

On Friday, December 11 at 8pm, the Mainstage Theatre of the UB Center for the Arts will be the location for a performance by the Irish Tenors. The three Irish Tenors—Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns, and Karl Scully....

Figure 3: These guys thought of this way before the (so-called "famous") Three Tenors and weren't piggybacking on the popular success of the latter in any way.

...are all classically trained vocalists who have been a favorite of Buffalo audiences for the past decade.

Awesome. I'll wear my sweater. But if you have to mention that they're classically trained, doesn't that imply that, without that informaion, there'd be some question?


BPO Holiday Concerts

The BPO Classical Christmas program will be presented in Kleinhans Music Hall on Friday, December 11 at 10:30am, and on Saturday, December 12 at 8pm. Matthew Kraemer, now in his first season as associate conductor of the BPO, will lead the orchestra in a program of orchestral favorites traditionally associated with the holiday season.

Ah. It's not the music that's Christmas-y, it's the associations. That actually makes a lot of sense.


BPO music director JoAnn Falletta will be on the podium of Kleinhans Music Hall to lead a program billed as “Deck the Halls,” this year’s version of the ever popular Holiday Pops concerts...

Really? "Deck the Halls"? Man, that is some outside-the-box, adventurous PR right there.

"What should we call the holiday concert?"

Silence. Then:

"I know!"

Figure 4: [Title of Figure 4 Pending from Detritus Review Marketing Dept.]


The Messiah with The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus

For many classical music lovers, Christmas is not Christmas without a performance of Handel’s Messiah, one of the all-time most popular choral works...

...or a family suicide, or at least Uncle Johnny's Annual Trip to Rehab.

... On Monday, November 23 at 7:30pm, pre-registered audience members can sing along with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus...

You have to pre-register? Is there a background check?

...Bring a copy of the Messiah, if you intend to sing, or reserve a copy for $10.

Really? Really? Ah, the spirit of Christmas, down to the last available fucking dollar.


The Friends of Vienna Herald the Sounds of the Season

On Sunday, December 6 at 3:30pm, The Friends of Vienna present the Niagara Frontier Brass Quintet in a program entitled “The Sounds of the Season”...

Huh, I wonder what they'll play?

...The program of carols and songs will range from music by J.S. Bach’s “My Spirit Be Joyful”...

Dude, seriously? J.S. Bach’s “My Spirit Be Joyful” is totally my favorite composer.


The Freudig Singers Serve a Slice of Christmas Pie

This will be the 10th anniversary for a genuinely unique Buffalo tradition created by the Freudig Singers.


During every holiday season, the Freudig Singers have offered a pair of concerts in area churches, featuring some of the most rarely performed gems in the vast, Christmas music repertory.

It's good that the writer recognizes that the repertory is both vast and Christmas. Omission of that crucial comma could cause comprehension.

Figure 5: Happy Magical Carpenter Zombie Day Present
To: ArtVoice
From: The Detritus Review


AnthonyS said...

Magical Carpenter Zombie Day?


Gustav said...

"We've got issues"???

What a bizarre tagline for a magazines. It's obviously supposed to have some sort of double meaning, however, one of those meanings is going to be "we're crazy". Not exactly the message I'd prefer to send potential readers and advertisers.

Sator Arepo said...


Yeah, what? *Zombie.* What else do you call someone caught between two deaths? "Messiah Cemetery?"

LindsayC said...


"without that informaion?"


Sator Arepo said...


Kill Weed said...

Great article! Thanks