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Monday, August 02, 2021
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950



The grapevine

The transition to fall means a lot of things for students in Buffalo. The weather is getting colder, classes are getting harder and students are getting understandably stressed. But the cooler weather doesn’t mean the Buffalo music scene is cooling down any time soon.

Dr. Seuss characters Sally, Conrad, Thing 1, Thing 2 and The Cat in the Hat on stage.

Students perform first children’s theater production at UB

Coloring pages and Dr. Seuss books covered tables outside of the Katharine Cornell Theatre Friday, as children and families waited in line to see the first-ever UB-led performance from an iconic cat. UB students performed a theater production of Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” at the theater on Sept. 27-28 as part of the Department of Theatre and Dance’s annual Student Directed Series. The series gives students the opportunity to produce and direct a show on their own and this production was the first-ever children’s theater production at UB, based on the 1957 children’s book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. 

SHAED will perform in Buffalo on Sept. 28.

Throwing SHAED: Budding group SHAED discusses rise to fame and Buffalo show in exclusive interview

SHAED hasn’t quite hit household name recognition yet, but that may not last much longer. The D.C.-based electro-pop group’s new single, “Trampoline,” overtook Billie Eilish’s “Bury a Friend” for the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Alternative Radio chart this summer.  With a musical style that BlackBook described as “infectious, magnetic charisma,” the group’s elaborate sound design, whimsical tone and deeply meaningful lyrics leave listeners craving more.

The UB Gospel Choir rehearses the song Perfect Praise by Walt Whitman.

Soulful sounds

Temara Cross, the vice president of UB Gospel Choir, says she believes gospel music is not exclusive to a specific race.  And she doesn’t think it’s exclusive to a set of skills or someone’s faith, either.

From “Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat” to Zodiaque Dance Company, The Spectrum compiled a list of on-campus performances that students shouldn’t miss.

UB’s fall performance radar

At the beginning of the semester, it’s hard to know all of the entertainment opportunities the Buffalo area can offer.  And for some students, it can be difficult to make it downtown to enjoy a play or musical performance. But excellent performances may be closer than students think.


Haley Reinhart talks Anderson .Paak, “Lo-Fi Soul” and October show

There’s something magical about Haley Reinhart’s aura.  It’s in her ‘60s appeal, it’s in her free-spirited live shows and it’s in her band, which once included the now Grammy-winning hip-hop heavyweight Anderson .Paak. Reinhart, quite like her former drummer-turned-performer extraordinaire, has evolved her sound over her career. Her new record, “Lo-Fi Soul,” is a coverless call to the ‘60s, full of organs, lovely backing harmonies and vocal effects that carry the record throughout. Unlike her previous effort, “What’s That Sound,” Reinhart’s originals run her latest and feel straight out of The Monkees’ or The Doors’ organ-heavy catalog. It’s vintage, but it’s her.

Drag Queens performing at Sheas Smith Theatre Friday night. From left to right Nicki Monroe, Cece Vergara, Sasha Storm, Keke Valasquez-Lord, Winter Storm, Chyna Dior, Bebe Bvlgari and Armani.

Say ‘More w--re:’ A celebration of feminine expression

The crowd chanted “more w--re” and dropped dollar bills as Keke Valasquez-Lord entertained the audience to “Last Dance” by Donna Summer.  Club Marcella held “Curtain Up’s a Drag” in collaboration with Shea’s Performing Arts Center at the Smith Theatre Friday night. The 237-seat Black Box Theater was nearly full –– surprisingly with an older audience. It featured individual performances from Sasha Storm, Cece Vergara, Chyna Dior, Nicky Monroe, Valasquez-Lord, Winter Storm, Bebe Bvlgari and Armani, along with a group act at the end. Reigning Miss Gay Buffalo Icon Valasquez-Lord –– an entertainer in the Buffalo drag community for the past 13 years –– hosted the show. 

Guerilla Toss plays in Buffalo.

What would the odd say: A conversation with Guerilla Toss’ Kassie Carlson

A backdrop of old VHS tapes and psychedelic visuals set the stage as wild synth patterns clash with violins.  NYC band Guerilla Toss has covered everything from ear-splitting punk to ‘80s synthpop. Its gradual evolution has created a satisfying career arc, but one consistent appeal of the group is vocalist Kassie Carlson. Her singing ranges from high-pitched screams to melodic anthem cries, but she always remains the heart and soul of the band’s personality.

Kanye West performs at Fall Fest 2005.

When Mr. West woke up the fest

Kanye West wasn’t a big fan of presidents in 2005 and he probably never expected to dap one up when he visited Alumni Arena on Oct. 21 of that year. But Dela Yador –– the 2005 Student Association president –– thinks about his encounter with West often.

Stills from the production of Hairspray now showing at The Kavinoky Theatre.

“Hairspray” brings the ‘60s back to Buffalo

Buffalo’s production of “Hairspray” brings something to the musical that professional performances don’t typically see. A student-filled cast. “Hairspray,” despite the uncharacteristically young team, radiated an exuberant energy between the cast and audience that resonated throughout the house.

Emily Quartley poses with her life-sized drawing.

Paying for portraits

Marysia Paradis began making art as soon as she could hold a pencil.  Her mother encouraged her to draw and paint and she soon found that she especially had a skill and love for drawing animals. 

Koffee talks to The Spectrum editors.

Koffee talks travel, ‘Rapture’ and Kranium

Koffee didn’t need any coffee to help her pull off her Fall Fest performance Saturday night. Instead, the artist –– who had the flu –– leaned on and harnessed her Buffalonian fans’ positive energy.  Koffee, born Mikayla Simpson, performed at the Center for the Arts during the Student Association’s first of three Fall Fest shows, where she announced her sickness on stage.

Portraits of comedian Gilbert Gottfried. Gottfried will take the stage at the Helium Comedy Club in November.

Gilbert Gottfried talks residuals, ‘Ren and Stimpy’ and forgetting his roles

Gilbert Gottfried could have played an important role in your childhood. But he probably won’t remember if you ask him. Throughout his 30-plus-year career, the comedian lent his voice to films like “Aladdin,” cartoons like “The Fairly Odd Parents,” video games like “Kingdom Hearts” and over 160 other projects. While he doesn’t always recall each of his gigs, he still rakes in the residual checks for them –– even the ones worth $.01. 

Buffalo rapper Billie Essco poses with a bicycle.

Billie Essco says new album is his ‘musical peak’

Billie Essco remembers the day he saw his creative idol live.  The Buffalo rapper decided to drive down to New York City and go see Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 show. After the life-changing show, which featured Young Thug and Kid Cudi, Essco left the city to go stay at his friend’s place in Washington, D.C.

The single cover to Lil Pump's "Gucci Gang."

Bankable beats

When asked to describe college students, most people’s first response is “broke.”  Students have to pay for tuition, meals, gas, rent, books and so much more, so it gets hard to hold on to extra cash.But if you listen to this playlist of rich rhythms, you can feel richer, even while eating ramen noodles out of a coffee mug.

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