Is there anything better than the smell of Concord grapes everywhere you go? It makes these final months before the seasonal affective disorder sets in all the more sweeter. Capitalizing on the foliage soon to be in all its splendor, there are several festivals happening throughout Western New York celebrating the favorite season of many.
With Hallow-een only a month away, it's time to get in the spirit with some spooky entertainment. A scary movie in the form of a television series, FX's new "American Horror Story," premieres next Wednesday at 10 p.m. The show is produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the duo responsible for "Nip/Tuck" and "Glee," and stars Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights"), Dylan McDermott ("The Practice"), Taissa Farmiga (Vera Farmiga's sister), Frances Conroy ("Six Feet Under") and Jessica Lange, among others. A dysfunctional family moves across the country in an attempt to find a fresh start unfortunately, the house turns out to be extraordinarily haunted. The show is getting mixed, but mostly bad, reviews, with critics calling it campy, a "hot mess," freaky, twisted and over-the-top however, several agreed that it was fun and entertaining, and wanted to see more. It might be best to go in with low expectations.
OBSERVER Photo by Justin Goetz
Mr. Boneless will be part of Zinoshowbia at BJ’s tonight.
Showtime's new series "Homeland" premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. Claire Danes stars as a CIA case officer investigating a Marine sergeant (Damian Lewis) returning home after being held captive by al-Qaida for nearly 10 years. The sergeant has suspicions about where his loyalties now lie. I watched a preview and it looks like an intense, suspenseful drama Showtime seems to always get it right with their original series.
The new season of "Dexter" starts Sunday at 9 p.m. on Showtime. Also returning this week: "Private Practice" Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC and "House" Monday at 9 p.m. on Fox.
REEL TALK: 'Moneyball'
Great sports movies are all about the triumph over adversity. Nothing lifts the spirits quite like watching a spectacular sports-centered film - rooting for the underdog, crossing your fingers during the climactic moment during the big game, your heart soaring during the victory. Call it cliche but it's a winning formula that stands the test of time. Just watch "Rudy," "Jerry McGuire," "Remember the Titans," "The Sandlot," "Field of Dreams" and "Rocky," to name a few.
Will "Moneyball" join the ranks of the great sports films before it? I'm not convinced it should. Brad Pitt does a fine job playing Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, a former ball player himself, who has to find a way to assemble a winning team on an extremely limited budget. Enter whiz kid Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) who dazzles Beane with his idea to use statistical data to put together a team of undervalued players. Beane hires him immediately and follows his protegee's system to a tee, but when it doesn't work out exactly as planned, their careers and the team is in jeopardy.
"Moneyball" simply didn't move me the way I hoped it would. It's a pretty good story with some good performances but it didn't have that certain je nais se quoi that leaves the viewer feeling exhilarated after watching it. Beane doesn't associate with the players on his team so he can remain unattached when he has to make a cut, and I felt a similar emotional distance in the film it keeps the audience at arm's length. The true star of "Moneyball" is Hill he stole every scene he was in and was by far the most compelling character in the film. This movie will be his calling card for even better roles in some very big movies.
"Moneyball" did have its moments but as a whole, it fell flat. Those looking for an outstanding sports movie are better off re-watching "Rudy."
"Moneyball" is now playing at the Dunkirk Movieplex.
The staff of Zinophobia is throwing a party tonight at BJ's. Fredonia's favorite weekly 'zine is busting out the glow sticks, cake, balloons and face paint for another of their Zinoshowbia shindigs. Sleep Close Death, Mr. Boneless and Well Worn Boot will be providing the musical entertainment. Kyle O'Connor is the master of ceremonies for the event. The show starts at 10 p.m. There is a $3 cover for 18 and up. Anyone over 21 gets in for free.
For those who can't get enough of Well Worn Boot and Mr. Boneless, they will be playing another show Saturday at Mojo's in Jamestown, along with Chet Wild, starting at about 10 p.m.
41 West will feature live music by Ion Sky with Tara Graves on Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The bar will also have karaoke tonight at 9 p.m. and trivia on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
For the second year in a row, Rinky Dink will perform at the Tavern on the Mall in Forestville on Friday from 9 p.m. to midnight, as part of the Forestville Fall Festival. The festival will be held Saturday and Sunday at Forestville Central School (12 Academy St.) and throughout the village, with a wide variety of autumn-appropriate activities for the whole family.
The annual Falling Leaves Festival will be held Friday through Sunday in Salamanca. The festival includes a carnival, many vendors, contests, a car show, beer tent and the grand parade on Sunday. Visit www.salamancachamber.org for complete details.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Oktoberfest at the Buffalo Harbor will be held Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m. A celebration of German heritage, the fest will include authentic German food, music and fun, with live music from 5 to 10 p.m. and the "celebrity keg tapping" at 4 p.m. Tickets are $6 in advance and $10 at the gate.
DELICIOUS DRINKS OF THE WEEK
Have a drink that tastes like fall. It's called Pumking and it's made right here in Chautauqua County at Southern Tier Brewing Co. Just don't have too many the alcohol content is deceivingly high.
Orange juice and whipped cream-flavored vodka. It may sound revolting but it tastes like a creamsicle.
WHAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS
SUNY Fredonia's "No Sharking" campaign. ("Sharking" is a term for parking lot stalking in order to find a hot space). I commuted as a student and the college simply doesn't provide adequate, convenient parking. In fact, the only unpleasant thing about my SUNY Fredonia experience was dealing with the parking dilemma on a daily basis. There were days I went to work, class and back to work again. I didn't have time to mess around with waiting for a bus to and from the "Park & Ride" lot I needed to run in, go to class and get out as quickly as humanly possible. Being able to park right next to the building where my class really helped with that. A lot of students have jobs and need to work in order to pay for school. Haven't you heard? A college education is expensive. Why not help these hardworking students out with more convenient parking?
Further contributing to this issue is the new science center, the construction project for which is taking up an entire lot's worth of prime parking spaces. Perhaps among the college's many construction projects should be a plan for replacing the spaces lost this year and expanding the parking currently available. Maybe freshman shouldn't be allowed to have cars on campus (as was done in the past). I'm sure a lot of plausible ideas could be conceived on how to add more parking. All I'm asking is this: how about trying to solve the problem (inadequate parking) instead of persecuting people who are suffering as a result ("sharking") of the problem?
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments on this column and events to firstname.lastname@example.org