Center For the Arts is booked for the fall
Barenaked Ladies, Satriani, Cornell and Hancock to play at UB
Published: Sunday, September 8, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 01:09
The UB Center For the Arts is sporting a fall season with a “wow factor,” according to the center’s director of marketing.
The CFA’s fall season is comprised of a variety of acts spanning many genres and types of performance art. Some of the most anticipated performers are Joe Satriani, Grammy Award-nominated guitarist, on Oct. 1; Chris Cornell, the Grammy Award-winning front man of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, on Nov. 5; Herbie Hancock, a Grammy Award-winning keyboardist and pianist, on Oct. 9;and Barenaked Ladies on Nov. 6.
A small committee headed by CFA Executive Director Tom Burrows assembles each season’s program. It’s not always an easy task, said CFA Director of Marketing Dave Wedekindt.
“The first thing is we look for quality, and we look for diversity, and we don’t want to be like any other venue in town,” Wedekindt said. “We defined our niche, and we try to keep some unique things that people look at and say, ‘Wow, no one else would do that performance.’”
Wedekindt said one of the most notable acts coming to the CFA is Cornell. Cornell personally chose the CFA over every other venue in town for his upcoming solo acoustic show on Nov. 5.
“He was actually handpicking the venues he’s performing at the tour, and he looked at the hall, and he liked the size, and he liked that it was on a campus,” Wedekindt said. “So that was pretty cool, and it’s probably going to sell out.”
Wedekindt described the process of finding and booking performances as a “long process.”
“It’s not as easy as just giving that act a call and saying ‘When can you come?’ Wedekindt said. “You know, there are a lot of other things at play: Are they touring? Are they going to be in this part of the country? How much money are they looking for? We have to factor all those things.”
This course of negotiations happens with each act and is further complicated by budgeting and costs, he said. Many students don’t know the CFA doesn’t receive student activity fees, he said. The CFA needs to generate enough ticket sales to pay for visiting acts, and according to Wedekindt, “that’s always a consideration.”
The CFA relies mostly on what Wedekindt calls “earned revenue” – ticket sales and concessions. Aside from a few sponsorships brought in to offset some of their expenditures, the CFA manages fairly well on their earned revenue and is able to bring in a variety of acts.
For those who enjoy speakers and comedians, the CFA will host a presentation by humorist and author David Sedaris on Oct. 16, a performance by the stars of truTV’s hit show Impractical Jokers on Oct. 18 as well as a brand new holiday-themed show put on by the main characters of the popular Canadian mockumentary Trailer Park Boys on Dec. 11.
For those not interested in the mainstream rock-and-roll acts or comedic performers, the CFA’s schedule includes a number of musicians from genres like jazz and blues, such as Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Wayne Shorter who will play on Nov. 21. The ability to draw performers coming from the “outside the world of what is considered mainstream” is one of the great things about the CFA’s programming, according to Wedekindt.
“No one else in Buffalo probably would’ve ever brought him in,” Wedekindt said about Shorter.
Dance performances are a major draw at the CFA, Wedekindt said, and this season will play host to a multitude of performances by professional organizations like LehrerDance on Oct. 5, Shanghai Ballet on Oct. 19and The American Academy of Ballet on Dec. 7and 8.
“Every year, a big focus is on dance because of the dance department here,” Wedekindt said. “It’s an important part of their learning experience and, also, we’re really the only major venue in town that presents professional touring dance regularly.”
The diversity of events put on at the CFA, comprising a schedule spanning nearly three months, has impressed some UB students.
“I think it’s great to see the CFA really reaching out and attracting so many unique artists,” said Jimmy Cairns, a senior biomedical engineering major. “Any place you can watch a ballet performance one night, just to see the cast of the Trailer Park Boys perform the next is clearly doing a great job and a great service for both UB and Buffalo.”
The full calendar of events for the CFA’s fall season and ticket prices can be found on the CFA website. Tickets for students and the general public are available on tickets.com or at the CFA Box Office.