An opinionated to-do list
By Christopher Schobert

I may have to travel to Hamilton and Toronto for my two most eagerly anticipated September events—Kings of Leon and Glasvegas at Copps Colliseum, and the Toronto International Film Festival, respectively—but you’ll find plenty to do in WNY. Our calendars in the front of the mag offer many, and here, you’ll find five very good choices as well. (Incidentally, look for live coverage from the Toronto Film Fest by Spree’s Jared Mobarak and myself at

Curtain Up! logo courtesy of Curtain Up!
1. Curtain Up!
Yes, Curtain Up! made the Hot 5 last September. Sure, you’re probably more than aware of what it is—the official opening of Buffalo’s live theater season, productions from thirteen of WNY’s favorite theater companies, a people stew of good times, and one heckuva party—but how can it not make a list of September’s top events? There is nothing like it all year, and it draws attention to one of Buffalo’s greatest cultural assets. This year’s CU! performances include the Tony-winning Blood Brothers at ICTC, Paul Rudnik’s I Hate Hamlet from Kaleidoscope Theatre, and MusicalFare’s 2 Pianos, 4 Hands. Yes, there will be Blood, Shakespeare-dissing, and 176 keys.
Friday, September 11, Main Street in Buffalo’s Theatre District;

2. Oktoberfest and the German-American Heritage Festival
Please ignore that these are two separate events; let’s just treat them as one, shall we? With a last name like “Schobert,” I’m excited about this month’s German festivities. There’s Picnic on the Plaza VII: Oktoberfest at the Central Terminal, celebrating that festival of food and drink that actually begins in October, offering the chance to get down, Munich-style, and spill the stein. And the two-day German-American Heritage Festival is another treat, with food, music, kid stuff, and a “Hummel Look-Alike Contest.”
Oktoberfest: Saturday, September 26 at the Central Terminal, 495 Paderewski Drive; 954-2225 or; German-American Heritage Festival: Saturday, September 5, and Sunday, September 6, at Cheektowaga Town Park; 864-1965.

Kristen Schaal photo courtesy of UB’s Center for the Arts.
3. Kristen Schaal at UB’s CFA
I was a little slow to get into HBO’s hipster-fave Flight of the Conchords, and I’m not entirely sure why. Post-Sopranos comedown? A tad too indie-ha-ha? Whatever. It soon hooked me, and hooked me big-time, and part of the reason why is the creepy-cute Kristen Schaal, who plays the Conchords’ number one—and only—fan, “Mel.” And that’s only part of her fab pedigree, which also includes The Daily Show, South Park, and even Mad Men. Her style combines self-deprecation with wide-eyed innocence, and a dash of awkward discomfort. (Demetri Martin meets Annie Hall?) It adds up to one blissfully kooky comic creation, and should be quite interesting live. Schaal is part of the CFA’s Comedy and Speakers Series, which also features the beloved and always funny David Sedaris on October 1, and ex-Saturday Night Live cast-member-turned-Sirius radio host Jim Breuer.
Friday, September 18, at UB’s Center for the Arts at UB’s North Campus; 645-ARTS or

Theodore Roosevelt site image by kc kratt.
4. Secrets of Allentown
This long-running Allentown tradition is one of the few historic tours that brings you inside the beautiful facades of neighborhood architectural gems. Count on touring at least ten fabulous properties, including private residences as well as commercial spaces and nonprofit institutions. This year, the tour starts at the renovated and augmented Theodore Roosevelt National Inaugural Site, which boasts a gorgeous carriage house addition as well as all-new interactive displays. (See page 32.) From here, participants take their tour booklets and create their own route around the rest of the properties (not listed here because the tour truly is a secret). A free wine tasting at the Hamlin House/Troop I Post, 432 Franklin provides a perfect place to take a break.
Saturday, September 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Headquarters for booklets/tickets at Theodore Roosevelt site, 641 Delaware day-of or,, 881-1024.

5. Buffalo Film Seminars
The always illuminating Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian are back with classic cinema this month for the Buffalo Film Seminars, fall 2009 edition. The first two are ideal for the big screen—Top Hat and High Sierra—but it is Black Narcissus on September 15 that truly intrigues. One of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s (a.k.a. “The Archers”) lush color masterpieces, Narcissus is the breathtakingly photographed, slow-building story of a convent of nuns living high in the Himalayas. It is, quite simply, unforgettable, and a must-see—whether for school credit or not. The rest of the semester includes Polanski (Knife in the Water), Kubrick (Lolita), and Tarkovsky’s original Solaris. There’s no place else in WNY to see these treats in this setting, and with these wonderful hosts.
Tuesday September 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29, at the Market Arcade Theater, 639 Main Street;

Associate editor Christopher Schobert was pleased to see several “Archers” references in Francis Ford Coppola’s underrated, Vincent Gallo-starring Tetro.


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