Around Town

Celebrate Black History Month at El Buen Amigo and The Colored Musicians Club


Despite below freezing temperatures and wind chills hitting negative 20 degrees, Buffalo is alive and well this weekend. Bundle up and head downtown for shows, lectures or some yoga and art.

For the smarty pants

El Buen Amigo, a fair trade store, art gallery and community center, is hosting Seku Harwell, a UB alumnus, poet, griot and visual artist, on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Ismail & Company at 7 p.m.

Ismail & Company are discussing the history of R&B Funk and Punk Funk.

Harwell will give a presentation about the significance of shekere, axatse and shakers in African Spiritual systems.

The shekere consists of a gourd covered in a net of beads woven together. The instrument is used for percussion in West African music.

The axatse is another percussion instrument and is used in Ghana and Togo. It is similar to the shekere, but uses a small gourd. Players place the instrument between the hands and upper legs.

For the music lover

The Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo has hosted major jazz stars since it began in 1918, including Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Count Basie.

The Club, at 145 Broadway in downtown Buffalo, was a place where jazz greats interacted with Buffalo’s black community during and after segregation when Local 43, an all-white jazz club, was the only jazz club in the city, according to the Club’s website. Buffalo Local 533 – what later became The Colored Musician’s Club – was formed on Feb. 3, 1917, making Buffalo the eighth city in the U.S. with racially segregated musician’s local unions.

The Club is the only remaining black club in the U.S. and was designated as a historical preservation site in 1999.

Today, the Club is “color blind,” and musicians from all walks of life play at the historic club. On Sunday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. the Ladies First Big Band – named “Buffalo’s Best Big Band” by Artvoice will have open jam sessions.

For the artsy type

Although the cheapest tickets are $46.50 after fees, settling into the elegant red chairs of Buffalo’s famed Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 or 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. to watch Chicago will be a memorable and well-deserved treat to yourself.

Chicago has won six Tony awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy. The musical explores fame and fortune and what people will do to make it.

For the partier

Instead of staying in your apartment to watch the Oscars, the Screening Room Cinema and Café in the Northtown Plaza Business Center is hosting an Oscar Party on Saturday night. Gather up a group and watch Hollywood’s biggest event on a big screen, instead of squeezing everyone onto your couch. Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is completely free.

For the stressed out

Art and yoga – what could be more relaxing?

For $15, you can take an hour-long yoga class at the Albright-Knox on Saturday at 9 a.m. The class is led by Leanne Oldenbrook, a certified yoga instructor. The class begins with an introduction to some artwork on display and then moves into stretching, strengthening and poses. Some “art-inspired” meditation will conclude the class, according to the Albright-Knox’s website.