Last week I wrote about how everything in Chautauqua County seems to be scheduled for the same few weekends. Well, we are way overbooked this weekend! There is so much music to be heard, film festivals to attend, art to behold. I usually just group events into one big list but this week, I will helpfully categorize them. Let's not waste any time.
- Rockin' the Commons, a benefit for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Barker Commons, downtown Fredonia. This year's event is in honor of SUNY Fredonia student Nick Spawn, diagnosed with cute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) in December 2008, with all proceeds going to Roswell for the research and patient care for those diagnosed with ALL. The event will include live entertainment, kids' activities, a Chinese auction and Chiavetta's chicken barbecue.
- The Fredonia College Symphony Orchestra, Masterworks Chorus and a very talented cast of soloists will take on Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9" at the Masterworks Scholarship Benefit Concert, held Sunday at 4 p.m. at King Concert Hall on the SUNY Fredonia campus. All proceeds from the concert go to support future music scholarships.
- A benefit concert for the victims of the April 5 fire in downtown Fredonia will be held at the Hairy Lemon on Friday, April 16 starting at 9 p.m. Premium Blend, Some Like it Hot, Murphy's Men, Colors in the Air and PardiGras will perform. There is a suggested donation of $5, and the concert is only open to those 21 or over.
- The Groove will be playing at the First Ward Falcon Club on April 17 at 9 p.m. The show is open to the public.
- At 41 West on Friday, Mediak will play from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., with Derek Scott, formerly of Innocent Bystander. Saturday will feature Jud Q. & Black Hole from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Jane Tramuto's retirement will be celebrated at 6 p.m. 41 West is planning for Sean Patrick McGraw from 4 to 8 p.m. April 25.
- Earthworks and SUNY Fredonia's Academic Community Engagement Center (FACE) will host a free environmental film festival from 4 to 10 p.m. at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House. The festival includes the following films - 4 p.m.: "Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home," 5:15 p.m.: "Crude Impact," 5:45 p.m.: "Burning the Future: Coal in America," 6:30 p.m.: "Homo Toxicus," 7:30 p.m.: "Fresh," and 8:45 p.m.: "A Sea Change: Imagine a World Without Fish." Pop in for one or watch 'em all. For more information on the festival, call Dr. Christina Jarvis at 673-3430.
- The second annual SUNYWide Film Festival features the best of SUNY's talent, including 19 student-produced films shown in 101 Jewett Hall April 15 through 17. There are four categories in the festival, including animation, documentary, experimental and narrative, and a showcase, or non-competitive category, for SUNY faculty and staff. Check out the college's Web site at www.fredonia.edu to learn more and get the complete lineup.
- Heath Ledger's last film, "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" will be shown Saturday at 8 p.m. and Tuesday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Opera House. The fantasy film also stars Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and the very beautiful Lily Cole.
- This is out of the county, but the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival will also begin this weekend, running April 16 through 25. It will be held at both the Market Arcade Cinema in Downtown Buffalo and the Riviera Theatre and Castle, both in North Tonawanda. Find the complete details at www.buffaloniagarafilmfestival.com.
- Adams Art Gallery's new Urbscheit Exhibit 2010, showcasing the artwork of local high school students, opens with a reception and award ceremony Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the gallery, 600 Central Ave. in Dunkirk. The exhibit runs through May 14.
- The new exhibit Three Visions: Photography by James Hoggard, Jeff McMullin and Mike Mulley will open at Patterson Library's Octagon Gallery in Westfield on Friday, with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through May 14.
- SUNY Fredonia's Senior Show opens Friday with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the art gallery on campus in Rockefeller Arts Center.
- It's the second-to-the-last "Project Runway" tonight. I love this one almost as much as the finale because it means maximum Tim Gunn. Emilio Sosa, Jay Nicolas Sario, Mila Hermanovski and Seth Aaron Henderson will welcome Gunn into their homes, wherein he will critique their final collections and try his best to not to be totally weirded out by their families. The four designers will be theoretically we've seen this change at the last second before - narrowed down to three after Mila and Jay go head-to-head tonight. It's been a pretty strong season sewing-wise, with no clear frontrunner everyone has had their hits and misses - but in regards to character, the show has fallen a little flat. There's no one I'm really rooting for (but maybe that's because I'm heartless and snarky). Lifetime Network, 10 p.m., be there or be square (or in Mila's case, geometric and colorblocked).
- After some box office flops and films gone straight to DVD, there comes a time in an actor's life where it's time to put the ego aside and do a TV movie for the cash dollars. Andie MacDowell ("Groundhog's Day," cosmetic endorsements) stars in Patricia Cornwell's "The Front," airing Saturday at 9 p.m. Hilary Duff, along with Jaime Pressly and Matt Dallas ("Kyle XY" himself) look for love amongst the cubicles in "Beauty in the Briefcase," on ABC Family Saturday at 8 p.m.
Going to the movies is expensive. There were quite a few films that came out this winter that I wanted to see but decided I'd wait until they came out on DVD instead. Here are my assessments of two I was psyched to watch.
- "Brothers," starring Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhal and Toby McGuire
Expectations: Not met
There's some Oscar-worthy acting in "Brothers," a tense drama about a family torn apart by a tragedy. It just wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. The film was very uneven, with awkward, uncomfortable shifts between light moments with a twangy soundtrack to extremely intense scenes that were incredibly hard to watch. "Brothers" is a better choice than, say, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," and fans of the talented young cast would enjoy their performances, but I wouldn't speed over to Blockbuster for it.
- "Sherlock Holmes," starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams
I was leery of the revamped, action movie version of "Sherlock Holmes" after I saw the trailer with slow-motion boxing reminiscent of "300." I must say, however, that Law and Downey Jr. did dear Watson and Sherlock Holmes proud, and anyone who's seen "Mean Girls" knows Rachel McAdams excels at playing a gal who's up to no good. The movie had the occasional slow moments and overlong action sequences, but overall, I quite enjoyed it, highly recommend it and would gladly see the sequel if it ends up getting made. Rent it!
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Give her the dish on what's happening at firstname.lastname@example.org.