Not every weekend can be packed with back-to-back festivals. It's not going to be especially eventful but somehow, with Fredonia awakening from its summertime slumber and the first show of the semester at BJ's, there should be more than enough to keep us entertained.
Sleeping In The Aviary kicks off the fall concert season at BJ's tonight. This Minnesota band is on an extensive tour of the states and stopping by Fredonia. Their sound would appeal to fans of Pavement and Neutral Milk Hotel. The Harlem Renaissance have the job of warming up the crowd. The show starts at 10 p.m. The cost is $3 for 18 and over. It's free if you are over 21.
41 West will feature live music by Big Heavy on Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Delcamp's Nickel Plate, located at 131 Central Ave. in Brocton, is holding its grand opening weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A shuffle board tournament and dinner and drink specials will be part of Friday night's festivities. Live music by Buffalo's 9 Lives is on Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., with drink specials and giveaways. An NFL preseason finale party will be held on Sunday. For more information, call 792-4400.
I really wanted to use the word "masterpiece" to describe "Inglorious Basterds," but after careful consideration, it seems presumptuous. I have also wondered whether Quentin Tarantino has finally topped "Pulp Fiction," and haven't come to a conclusion on that either. It's a difficult call to make, since "Pulp Fiction," the definitive postmodern piece, is such an iconic and influential work that kids in film classes will be writing papers about well beyond the foreseeable future. I will say this: "Inglorious Basterds" comes very close to the success of "Pulp Fiction" and Tarantino's other great, beloved films, and what is also significant about "Inglorious" is that it demonstrates that the director has learned from his past mistakes. Sometimes Tarantino indulges himself too much in excessive dialogue (see "Death Proof"), letting his larger-than-life characters take over to the point of obnoxiousness, adding too many quirks that distract and detract instead of adding intrigue, and ridiculous, over-the-top blood and guts, just for the sake of blood and guts. In "Inglorious Basterds," it's still quintessential Tarantino that will satisfy fans but he manages to reel himself in somewhat and it works to his advantage.
Unexpectedly, it has a lot less to do with scalping Nazis and other gratuitous violence (as it has been advertised) and a lot more to do with the history of German cinema during the Third Reich. I would suggest, if you are at all interested in the subject, to do a little reading on Joseph Goebbels and company before seeing the movie. It makes "Inglorious Basterds" all the more fascinating.
Divided into chapters, a very interesting tale is woven - blending in some fact with fiction - involving the titular band of Inglorious Basterds serving up justice, a cinema owner, a movie star and a spectacular villain. Col. Hans Landa is a meticulous, calculating deviant in the vein of bowl cut-loving Anton Chigurh in "No Country For Old Men," the type who truly relishes his despicableness, planning every detail to best make his victim squirm.
Subtitle-haters might have some problems with "Inglorious" (but they should get over it). German is used when it makes sense that German would be used, and the same goes for French and English unlike "Valkyrie," where Tom Cruise simply spoke like Tom Cruise and the rest of his fellow Nazis spoke with British accents.
Comedy and drama, suspense and sarcasm, are all key ingredients. The shift in tone never feels awkward. There are a few added flourishes that Tarantino fans will love and others may dislike. Even though it's lengthy (about two and a half hours), every moment is exquisite. I won't call it perfect but "Inglorious Basterds" does defy all expectations and preconceived notions.
Summer series are coming to an end (just two episodes of "True Blood" left!) and TV lovers are left in a sort of between-season limbo, waiting for the onslaught of fall premieres. For now, new seasons of "Mad Men," "Top Chef" and "Project Runway," and some good, old-fashioned movies will have to suffice until September.
Fangs are so hot right now. Like the undead to a viable aorta, vampire fanatics will be drawn to AMC this week. On Saturday at 3:30 a.m., "Dracula" (1979) starring Laurence Olivier and Frank Langella will air; on Sunday, see "Blood of the Vampire" (1958) at 3 a.m. and "Blood of Dracula" (1957) at 5 a.m.; the original "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1992) with Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry will be on Monday, Aug. 31 at 8 p.m.
The delightfully odd "Lolita" (1962) will air on Turner Classic Movies on Saturday at 8 p.m., as part of Peter Sellars day on TCM. Vladimir Nabokov's controversial story has been filmed more than once but director Stanley Kubrick's version is arguably the best. Excellent performances by James Mason, Sue Lyon and Shelley Winters further make this quirky film worth watching.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Silent Exchange, an all-day electronic music and art event, will be held at Rock Harbor Commons Village, 31 Tonawanda St. in Buffalo. Five DJs - Bill Bacon, Michael Parker, Mazi, Soul Clap and Nico Jaar - and work by local artists will be featured at the open-air event, held from noon to 10 p.m. Admission is $10; music is 18 and up and 21 is, of course, the drinking age. Get all of the pertinent details at silentexchange.blogspot.com and www.facebook.com/silentexchange.
April Diodato is an OBSERVER staff writer. Give her the dish on what's happening at firstname.lastname@example.org.