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Hot 5: February 2012

February is for lovers, hot messes, pond hockey enthusiasts, literary types, blues aficionados, and men with blue faces.

Squeaky Wheel’s Peepshow
Squeaky Wheel’s wildly popular fundraiser-art show returns on February 23. As always, the Spree-sponsored event features curated artist installations, videos, performances, and an art auction, resulting in a truly joyous night in Buffalo. This year’s theme—Hot Mess—holds great promise. According to the Squeaky website, this year’s Peepshow could include: “Beautifully train-wrecked party animals, upside down palm trees and skewed cocktail parasols sticking out of plastic trash bags, melting ice caps, text messages you REALLY wish you could unsend, teen mom Farrah Abraham’s new album, that time Britney Spears shaved her head—all that is spectacularly disastrous and stunningly unfortunate is sure to abound.” Yes, this does sound messy. Can’t wait! The event venue, DNIPRO, is one of WNY’s unknown jewels, a large, historic, beautiful space.
8 p.m. on Saturday, February 23, at at the DNIPRO Ukranian Cultural Center, 562 Genesee St.; 884-7172 or squeaky.org.

Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament
Last year’s Labatt Pond Hockey tourney was, famously, held on blacktop instead of ice. This announcement came well after I wrote an article for last January’s Spree (of course it did).That was a bummer, but it didn’t ruin the spirit of the tournament, and this year, it’s back on ice (hopefully), starting at 8:30 a.m. on February 9. Registration is long over, but you can certainly watch. That’s part of the fun. Note that organizers say the event will “likely” shift to street hockey “due to weather or lack of ice.” Fingers crossed.
8:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, at Erie Basin Marina; labattbluepondhockey.com.

Just Buffalo February
Every month, Spree’s calendar of events is full of Just Buffalo events, and while February does not include a Babel lecture, it does include Babel@Betty’s, a book discussion at the Virginia Street restaurant on February 25. (The next Babel lecture, on March 7, features Alexandra Fuller.) Also worth noting is a reading and book signing with Perry Nicholas, the award-winning poet and Erie Community College English professor and cohost of Just Buffalo’s Literary Café at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst. On February 14, he’ll share his own, specifically work from his new collection, Beginnings. Nicholas says it “was written in 2012 and highlights my trip to Greece in the summer. As always, these poems are based on family ties and everyday relationships.” For more on Nicholas’s work, visit perrynicholas.com or see foreveryoungwny.com for a recent article he wrote on a past trip to Greece for Spree’s sister publication, Forever Young.
Babel@Betty’s: 7 p.m. on Monday, February 25, at Betty’s, 370 Virginia St.; Nicholas reading: 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 14, at Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main St.; 832-5400 or justbuffalo.org.

Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang at UB’s CFA
Want to hear what a great guy Buddy Guy is? Ask Hayden Fogle. He had the chance to meet the blues guitar legend before his concert at UB’s Center for the Arts last June, and then some. The young guitarist was thrilled to hang with his hero, but things took an almost unbelievable turn when Guy asked Fogle to join him onstage for a song. The result can be watched on YouTube, and it’s fantastic. (You can also watch it on Fogle’s website, haydenfogle.com; for more, see an article from the July 12, 2012, Amherst Bee.) So Buddy rocks, onstage and off, and, yeah, this Jonny Lang isn’t bad on guitar. Whether Fogle joins them or not, the duo’s return to UB on February 26 should be killer.
7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26, at UB’s Center for the Arts, UB North Campus, Amherst; 645-ARTS or ubcfa.org.

Blue Man Group at Shea’s
My favorite Blue Man Group appearance was not witnessed live, although I did see and enjoy them in Toronto in August 2002 as part of Moby’s Area 2 tour. No, for me, the Blue Man Group is forever linked with Arrested Development, the beloved cult series that saw David Cross’s Tobias Fünke serve as a Blue Man understudy. If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, get online now and start watching—the Blue Man Group is an almost indescribable live experience. And don’t let this scare you away, but if you’re in the first few rows, you might be presented with a poncho, for paint protection.     
8 p.m. on Friday, February 8, 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, and 2 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, February 10, at Shea’s Performing Arts Center, 650 Main St.; 800-745-3000 or sheas.org.        


Associate editor Christopher Schobert wishes good luck to all of this year’s Labatt Pond Hockey players. His own skates were put away long, long ago.

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