Bliss: 11 days of pure unadulterated uncensored artistic rapture.
That is what the Buffalo Infringement Festival is to me. An all-encompassing circus of experimental work that just keeps going. Cruising around on my tricycle from venue to venue, trying to catch as much as humanly possible, often forgetting to shower and eat, living off pure emotion and love for my beautiful city. Start early in the day and go on until the sun rises. The most difficult part of this festival is that so much is happening on the same day that it is difficult to juggle and impossible to see everything. It is so easy to completely immerse yourself in Infringement craziness. Art is happening everywhere, simultaneously, and for free. Street theater, busking musicians, parades, and powerful visual art is impossible to miss.
Infringement started as a protest to the Fringe Festival in Montreal and has completely transformed into one of the most invasive experiences you will ever partake in. Thank you, Donovan King, the almighty creator of this art movement. Check out his “What the Fringe?!” lecture at Ol’ Wondermoth on July 30 and at the Burchfield Penney on July 31. Donovan had the guts to stand up to a system of evil corporate sponsorship and censorship, starting something politically incorrect and artistically pure, bedlam and freedom combined. There is no fee and 100 percent acceptance.
Nietzsche’s is home base, from the Opening Ceremonies all the way to the Iffy Awards on the last day.
(The Iffys are paper plate awards that are given to artists and events by the people; if you see something that moves you, please give the artist an Iffy—it feels good to get a handmade award.)
Cafe Taza is another one of my favorites to stop and see some intimate live music outside and grab a delicious cup of coffee. Days Park also has a ton of fantastic stuff happening throughout the festival; it’s a beautiful escape to relax under a tree and catch some theater. Also keep an eye out for the Waste Not Want Not Pop-Up Cafe, serving reclaimed food on a pay-as-you-feel basis.
In order to make this volunteer festival work, all artists must promote their own shows. So in that spirit here is my shameless self-promotion: Check out my paintings at Dreamland and Hot Mama’s Canteen, where the amazing Sarah Jay also has a striking painting series called I Am Afraid of My Body.
This year I am proud to say there are multiple burlesque troupes celebrating performers of all shapes, sizes, experience, and genders. You can see some burlesque cherries being popped at the opening for Hi-Temp Fabrication on Friday, July 29, one of the largest visual art showings ever at a beautiful industrial space in the historic Cobblestone District. Check it out now because this will sadly be the last show at this incredible space. The opening at Main Street Gallery is on the same night, so check out both. On Saturday, July 30 I will be at the Janet Jackson tribute show called Ms. Infringement if You’re Nasty at Milkie’s.
Drumroll, please: On Tuesday, August 2, the Stripteasers present It’s Always Sunny in Buffalo, an all-female burlesque tribute to the infamous TV show at Nietzsche’s. (Spoiler: There will be a rum ham and multiple glory-holes.) The Gang is bringing The Night Man Cometh to Buffalo for one night only, so don’t miss it. Joe Donohue will be tickling the ivories. Wednesday, August 3 brings Wet Dreamland 3, Infringement’s body positive sexy party at Buffalo’s safest and most welcoming all-inclusive LGBTQ space, Dreamland. Dress your fetish! Come get weird with us! Start thinking of your safe word now. Kink play and porn karaoke throughout the night, art, performances, and complimentary sense of freedom and beauty for all. Last year I was covered in pudding in a kitty pool, all in the name of consent. What will I cover myself in this year? Come to find out! There will be a splash zone.
On Thursday, August 4, Locust Street Neighborhood Art School will host live performances and art all day. The Art Wall will be set up for kids of all ages to express their creativity. There will also be live glass-blowing and eclectic music. I attended the free classes at Locust Street when I was a child and it changed my life. Check it out! They have weekly classes for adults and children of all ages.
As part of the If You Love Buffalo So Much Why Don’t You Marry It! project by Buffalo weirdo theater icon Ron Ehmke on Friday, August 5, the Sunshine Sisters Burlesque—a new project that Miss Juicy Lucy and I have started—will be at the Gypsy Parlor Bridal Shower (a day of lovely female power musicians and entertainment ) and the Mohawk Place Stag Party. Make sure you check out the stunning Erica Wolfling: Ice dragon and goddess, she sounds like Tori Amos and Regina Spektor had a baby. Her voice is hauntingly lovely and her original songs will make you weep. She will perform at the Sparkly Purple Unicorn Potluck on Sunday, July 31, at the Gypsy Parlor on Friday, August 5 for the Bridal Shower, later that night at the Nietzsche’s Masquerade Ball, and out front of Cafe Aroma for Buskfest on Saturday, August 6.
Infringing is having an open mind, making friends, exploration, freedom of speech, being moved by pure expression, creeping into crevices of Buffalo that you never knew were there. The best part is that this stuff is happening all year long. There are always incredible shows at Nietzsche’s, Dreamland, Sugar City, Mohawk Place, and all of our other generous venues. Being this uninhibited and inspired will change your life forever. Find your bliss, remember to breathe, and Infringe every day!
See more Infringement Festival coverage here:
- Infringement Festival 2016: Stained Glass Artist, Chelsea Black
- Infringement Festival 2016: Four Must See Theatre Events
- Infringement Festival 2016: Film and Video Round Up
- Infringement Festival 2016: Let’s Dance About It
- Infringement Festival 2016: Five Music Artists To Check Out
- Lunatic Fringe: Meet the Organizers
- Buffalo Infringement Festival’s 2016 guide